Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has all but confirmed that wing JP Pietersen and fullback Willie le Roux will be omitted from his Rugby Championship squad.
The duo have struggled for form in 2016 and Coetzee feels they could do with proper pre-season conditioning with their overseas clubs.
Pietersen is set to join English club Leicester Tigers, while Le Roux will join the Canon-Eagles in Japan.
They are not expected to be included when Coetzee names his 31-man Rugby Championship squad this weekend.
In an interview with TimesLIVE, Coetzee said the door would not be shut on the two players to return to the Bok fold in future.
“When last did JP Pietersen have a proper pre-season?” Coetzee asked.
“He’s been veering between the Sharks and Japan for several seasons. He is a quality player and we saw flashes of that this season.
“JP has been written off but in the interests of Springbok rugby and himself‚ because I still rate him highly‚ he needs to have a proper pre-season regime with his club. He will still be available to us later.
“Willie le Roux is in a similar position having come and gone between his Japanese club and South Africa for the past few seasons,” Coetzee continued.
The Springboks' opening Rugby Championship match will take place on Saturday, August 20 against Argentina in Nelspruit.