CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa have named four uncapped players in their squad to tour Europe next month as coach Allister Coetzee looks to add some dynamism to his side’s backline play.
Fullback Warrick Gelant, centre Lukhanyo Am and scrumhalf Louis Schreuder will add to his attacking options, while number eight Dan du Preez also gets a call-up with regular skipper Warren Whiteley unavailable through injury.
Other players to return to the side after missing the 24-25 loss to New Zealand in their final Rugby Championship clash earlier this month are props Coenie Oosthuizen and Tendai Mtawarira, as well as loose forward Uzair Cassiem.
“This squad reflects consistency and continuity, while we also rewarded players who have constantly shown good form this season,” Coetzee said in a media statement from South African Rugby on Sunday.
“Warrick and Lukhanyo are two examples of players who have excelled in the season so far. It’s great to have them in the squad and I look forward to working with them.”
Coetzee said the squad had been selected with an eye on the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“With the World Cup now less than two years away, this demanding tour gives us another very good opportunity to keep on building depth and experience,” he said.
“Eight new players were capped so far this season and a total of 19 new international players (have) made their Springbok debuts since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
“Our process to rebuild the Bok team and steadily work towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan is continuing at a good and satisfying pace.”
Lock Eben Etzebeth will continue to lead the side in the absence of Whiteley, but the squad will be without Jan Serfontein, who asked not to be considered for the tour as he wants to settle in at French club Montpellier.
Siya Kolisi will return to Cape Town after the test against France in Paris on Nov. 18 as his wife, Rachel, is due to give birth the following week.
He will not be available for the Test against Italy on Nov. 25 in Padua, but will re-join the group for the final tour match in Cardiff against Wales the following week.
Players who are contracted to overseas clubs –- lock Franco Mostert, loose forward Francois Louw and flyhalf Elton Jantjies –- will not be considered for selection for the game against Wales as this test falls outside the international window.
The Boks start their tour against Ireland on Nov. 11.
Forwards: Uzair Cassiem, Lood de Jager, Ruan Dreyer, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle.
Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Curwin Bosch, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Warrick Gelant, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Raymond Rhule, Louis Schreuder, Courtnall Skosan, Francois Venter.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Clare Fallon)