Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber on Saturday night named a group of 21 players to join their team-mates in New Zealand for next week’s second Castle Lager Rugby Championship outing against New Zealand in Auckland bringing the total number of players to 35.
The group includes Duane Vermeulen – who captained the Springboks in their emphatic 43-12 victory against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in their opening match of the southern hemisphere showpiece – as well as the front row of Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe (both props), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), and backs Manie Libbok (flyhalf), Lukhanyo Am (centre), Cobus Reinach and Grant Williams (both scrumhalves).
A group of 13 players travelled to New Zealand on Tuesday, which included injured skipper Siya Kolisi and a few team management members, while Vodacom Bulls prop Gerhard Steenekamp made the journey on Wednesday as an injury replacement for Ox Nche, taking the number of players in New Zealand to 14.
This group will depart for New Zealand late on Sunday afternoon and arrive in Auckland late on Monday night.
Nienaber, SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and Bok assistant coach Felix Jones departed for New Zealand immediately after the Pretoria battle, which will allow them to get down to business on the field from Monday, giving them a full week of training.
“It was always part of our planning that some of the players who ran out in the Test against Australia would travel to New Zealand, and given some impressive performances today, we decided to take a few more players than we originally planned for,” said Erasmus.
“We now have the luxury of having a bunch of fresh of players to work with in New Zealand from Monday, and they’ll be joined by a group who have experienced the physicality of Australia and who can add energy and momentum at training from Tuesday.
“We’ll analyse the match on our journey to New Zealand and then announce our team to face the All Blacks on Tuesday.”
Additional Springbok players travelling to New Zealand:
Forwards: Thomas du Toit (prop), Pieter-Steph du Toit (loose forward), Deon Fourie (utility forward), Steven Kitshoff (prop), Jean Kleyn (lock), Vincent Koch (prop) Frans Malherbe (prop), Bongi Mbonambi (hooker), Trevor Nyakane (prop), RG Snyman (lock), Marco van Staden (flank), Duane Vermeulen (No 8).
Backs: Lukhanyo Am (centre), Kurt-Lee Arendse (wing), Andre Esterhuizen (centre), Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf), Willie le Roux (fullback), Manie Libbok (flyhalf),Cobus Reinach (scrumhalf), Damian Willemse (utility back), Grant Williams (scrumhalf).