Seabelo Senatla, the current World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year, as well as fit-again Springboks such as Handré Pollard, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe and Jaco Kriel, were all included in an extended Springbok training squad for the first of three camps, in Johannesburg.
The camp takes place from Sunday 5 to Tuesday 7 March and is the first of three preparations camps the Springboks will undertake as part of their plans before the start of the international season in June, when South Africa host France in a three-match Castle Lager Incoming Series.
Also included in the squad are five promising players who are earmarked for possible future Springbok involvement. They are Ox Nche (prop, Toyota Cheetahs), Joseph Dweba (hooker, Toyota Cheetahs), Hanro Liebenberg (No 8, Vodacom Bulls), Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Bulls) and Wilco Louw (prop, DHL Stormers).
All five youngsters are Junior Springboks, having represented the South Africa at various editions of the World Rugby Under-20 Championship. Four of them, Nche, Liebenberg, Gelant and Louw, featured for their franchises in the opening round of Vodacom Super Rugby the past weekend.
Players from the Cell C Sharks or Southern Kings were considered for the Johannesburg camp, because of Vodacom Super Rugby duty in Australia and Singapore, while Emirates Lions players will leave the camp after Mondays’ activities as they are travelling with their franchise team to Argentina the following day.
Long-term injured players such as Juan de Jongh (centre), Roelof Smit (flank) and Howard Mnisi (centre) were not considered for this camp.
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee said he is very happy to start working with the extended Bok squad so early in the year.
“We did a lot of background planning and this camp will give us the opportunity to take the objectives we agreed on at the various indabas, to the training field,” said Coetzee.
“This group was selected before the start of Vodacom Super Rugby so that we could adhere to World Rugby regulations by giving notice of the camp 14 days in advance.”
SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux, said: “I want to thank our franchises for their cooperation and releasing their players during Vodacom Super Rugby for the three Springbok camps.
“Unfortunately, we did not have any of these camps in 2016 and we know it is very important for the players and the coaches to spend as much time together as possible before the start of the season.”
Invited players for the first Springbok camp in Johannesburg (5-7 March):
1. Nizaam Carr (Number 8, DHL Stormers)
2. Uzair Cassiem (Flank, Toyota Cheetahs)
3. Damian de Allende (Centre, DHL Stormers)
4. Lood de Jager (Lock, Vodacom Bulls)
5. Faf de Klerk (Scrumhalf, Emirates Lions)
6. Ruan Dreyer (Prop, Emirates Lions)
7. Jean-Luc du Plessis (Flyhalf, DHL Stormers)
8. Pieter-Steph du Toit (Lock, DHL Stormers)
9. Joseph Dweba* (Hooker, Toyota Cheetahs)
10. Eben Etzebeth (Lock, DHL Stormers)
11. Warrick Gelant* (Fullback, Vodacom Bulls)
12. Lizo Gqoboka (Prop, Vodacom Bulls)
13. Hanro Liebenberg* (Number 8, Vodacom Bulls)
14. Travis Ismaiel (Wing, Vodacom Bulls)
15. Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Centre, Emirates Lions)
16. Elton Jantjies (Flyhalf, Emirates Lions)
17. Siya Kolisi (Flank, DHL Stormers)
18. Jaco Kriel (Flank, Emirates Lions)
19. Jesse Kriel (Fullback, Vodacom Bulls)
20. Wilco Louw* (Prop, DHL Stormers)
21. Frans Malherbe (Prop, DHL Stormers)
22. Lionel Mapoe (Centre, Emirates Lions)
23. Malcolm Marx (Hooker, Emirates Lions)
24. Bongi Mbonambi (Hooker, DHL Stormers)
25. Teboho Mohoje (Flank, Toyota Cheetahs)
26. Franco Mostert (Lock, Emirates Lions)
27. Ox Nche* (Prop, Toyota Cheetahs)
28. Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Number 8, DHL Stormers)
29. Trevor Nyakane (Prop, Vodacom Bulls)
30. Rudy Page (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Bulls)
31. Sergeal Petersen (Wing, Toyota Cheetahs)
32. Handré Pollard (Flyhalf, Vodacom Bulls)
33. Raymond Rhule (Wing, Toyota Cheetahs)
34. Seabelo Senatla (Wing, DHL Stormers)
35. Jan Serfontein (Centre, Vodacom Bulls)
36. RG Snyman (Lock, Vodacom Bulls)
37. Jamba Ulengo (Wing, Vodacom Bulls)
38. Armand van der Merwe (Hooker, Emirates Lions)
39. Piet van Zyl (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Bulls)
40. Francois Venter (Centre, Toyota Cheetahs)
41. Warren Whiteley (Number 8, Emirates Lions)