Johannesburg - The uncapped trio of Sergeal Petersen (wing), Ruhan Nel (centre) and JD Schickerling (lock) were on Saturday named in the Springbok squad of 36 for the 2018 tour to the UK and France.
Apart from the inclusion of the three uncapped players from Western Province, there were recalls for Gio Aplon (outside back) and Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf), who captained the Sharks in Saturday’s Currie Cup final.
Schreuder and the uncapped Western Province trio were among 10 players who rushed from the Currie Cup final to catch a flight to the UK to join the Springboks on tour.
Also on the flight after the final were Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Damian Willemse (all Western Province) and the Sharks’ Sbu Nkosi and Thomas du Toit.
The final of the Currie Cup was won by the Sharks by 17-12.
Trevor Nyakane (prop) and Lood de Jager (lock) are back in the Springbok fold after missing the entire international season to date due to injury, while Duane Vermeulen (loose forward) also returns after missing the Rugby Championship campaign.
All three experienced forwards, with a combined 115 caps between them, were part of a preliminary squad of 20 players who attended a week-long training camp in Stellenbosch, where they worked hard to prepare for the annual end of year tour.
Petersen played in a tour match for the Springboks against the Barbarians at Wembley in London in 2016, but is uncapped at Test level. Nel was part of the squad during the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.
The 23-year-old Schickerling, a former SA Under-20 representative, will get his first taste of senior international rugby, although he and Petersen played for the SA ‘A’ side against the touring England Saxons in June 2016.
Aplon is plying his trade in Japan nowadays and has 17 Test caps to his name, the last of which came in 2012. He is an exciting attacker with a good left boot and can play either fullback or wing.
Schreuder has one Test cap and cracked the nod for inclusion in the tour squad following some good performances for the Sharks in the domestic Currie Cup.
Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, has named 20 forwards and 16 backs for the month-long tour to England, France, Scotland and Wales.
“This tour to the northern hemisphere will be another tough test of our team’s character and we are looking forward to the exciting challenges against England, France, Scotland and Wales,” said Erasmus.
“It is always good to welcome new players to the Springbok environment and I’m excited to work with Sergeal and JD - I am sure they will bring a lot of energy into the group.
“Gio has a lot of experience of playing in the challenging European conditions from his club rugby stint in France, while Louis has been impressive in the Currie Cup and also brings a lot of experience.
“And we all know the value experienced players such as Lood, Trevor, and Duane will bring to the squad.”
Lionel Mapoe, who was part of the training squad in Stellenbosch, was ruled out of the tour due to injury and joins Tendai Mtawarira, Ross Cronje, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi, all of whom were part of the Rugby Championship squad, on the sidelines.
The Springboks face England at Twickenham on November 3, followed by a meeting with the French in Paris one week later on November 10.
Their third Test on Tour is against Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on November 17, and they wrap up their month-long tour with a visit to the Principality Stadium, where they are due to face Wales on November 24.
Springbok squad for the 2018 tour (in order of name, surname, position, province, Test caps, Test points):
Schalk Brits (Hooker, Unattached, 11, 5 - 1t)
Lood de Jager (Lock, Blue Bulls, 36, 20 - 4t)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Loose forward / Lock, Western Province, 42, 20 - 4t)
Thomas du Toit (Prop, Sharks, 5, 0)
Eben Etzebeth (Lock, Western Province, 73, 15 - 3t)
Steven Kitshoff (Prop, Western Province, 33, 5 - 1t)
Vincent Koch (Prop, Saracens, England, 10, 0)
Siya Kolisi (captain – Loose forward, Western Province, 37, 25 - 5t)
Francois Louw (Loose forward, Bath, England, 62, 45, - 9t)
Wilco Louw (Prop, Western Province, 11, 0)
Frans Malherbe (Prop, Western Province, 25, 0)
Malcolm Marx (Hooker, Golden Lions, 20, 20 - 4t)
Bongi Mbonambi (Hooker, Western Province, 22, 10 - 2t)
Franco Mostert (Lock, Golden Lions, 26, 5 - 1t)
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Loose forward, Western Province, 6, 0)
Trevor Nyakane (Prop, Blue Bulls, 37, 5 - 1t)
JD Schickerling (Lock, Western Province, uncapped)
RG Snyman (Lock, Honda Heat, Japan, 8, 0)
Duane Vermeulen (Loose forward, Kubota Spears, Japan, 42, 15 – 3t)
Warren Whiteley (Loose forward, Golden Lions, 21, 15 - 3t)
Gio Aplon (Wing / Fullback, Toyota Verblitz, Japan, 17, 25 - 5t)
Damian de Allende (Centre, Western Province, 33, 20 - 4t)
Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing, Golden Lions, 9, 30 - 6t)
André Esterhuizen (Centre, Munakata Sanix Blues, Japan, 5, 0)
Elton Jantjies (Flyhalf, Golden Lions, 29, 223 - 2t, 42c, 43p)
Cheslin Kolbe (Wing / Fullback, Toulouse, France, 4, 10 - 2t)
Jesse Kriel (Centre, Blue Bulls, 36, 50 - 10t)
Wille le Roux (Fullback, Wasps, England, 50, 60 – 12t)
Ruhan Nel (Centre, Western province, upcapped)
Sbu Nkosi (Wing, Sharks, 3, 10 - 2t)
Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf, Blue Bulls, 4, 0)
Sergeal Petersen (Wing, Western Province, uncapped)
Handré Pollard (Flyhalf, Blue Bulls, 35, 293 - 3t, 55c, 53p, 3d)
Louis Schreuder (Scrumhalf, Sharks, 1, 0)
Ivan van Zyl (Scrumhalf, Blue Bulls, 3, 0)
Damian Willemse (Flyhalf / Fullback, Western Province, 3, 0)