Kings stars invited to Bok camp

Southern Kings captain Lionel Cronje (left) is among a group of Kings players who have been invited to a Springbok camp
File picture: Brian Witbooi

Whole squad celebrates as four players earn contention for national selection, says Davids

Four Southern Kings stars have been rewarded for their scintillating Super Rugby form by being invited to a Springbok training camp.

Inspirational Kings captain Lionel Cronje, Chris Cloete, Andisa Ntsila and Makazole Mapimpi, are among an extended group of players who have been invited to the third Springbok training camp, from May 21 to 23 in Johannesburg.

The Kings have won their past three matches on the trot and have been rewarded with national call-ups for their outstanding players.

At the conclusion of the camp, the Springbok squad of 31 players for the incoming series next month against France will be announced, as well as the 26-man SA A squad for their matches against the French Barbarians.

“This is fantastic news. It is great to see the players being rewarded and credit must also go to their coaches,” Kings chief operating officer Charl Crous said.

“It is reward for all the hard work the players and coaches have put in.

“The type of play that the Kings are delivering has put them on a platform where they have been able to deliver and look at bigger honours.

“What is amazing about this is that if they had not played for the Southern Kings they would not have been on this platform and been able to get this sort of recognition and potentially play for the Springboks.

“The Kings play a role within the South African landscape and last year we produced players for the SA A team and the SA U20 team.

“Lionel came out of retirement to play for the Kings and what an amazing story that is. Now he is in contention for Bok honours.”

Proud Kings head coach Deon Davids is delighted with the recognition his side and players have received, particularly the national call-up of the quartet.

“These players have worked really hard, together with the rest of the squad, to earn the recognition that they have received,” Davids said.

“Given the fact that all four of these players are born and bred in the Eastern Cape, it is a reflection of the continued amount of talent that is at our disposal in the region.

“It is indicative of the fact that the province continues to manufacture quality players who can add value to South African rugby.

“The entire Southern Kings family celebrates with these players for what they have achieved so far, while we remain focused on the hard work that still needs to be done to ensure we continue on an upward curve in our Super Rugby campaign,” Davids said.

Next week’s camp in Johannesburg will give Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and his management team a last chance to have a close look at several candidates before the Bok coach announces his first official Springbok group of the year.

“As with the previous two camps, this assembly provides another chance for the coaches to cast the net wide and to have another closer look at certain positions,” Coetzee said.

“There are again some new faces in the wider group who have shown consistently good form during Super Rugby and the coaches are looking forward to continue with our preparations with the group.

“They are knocking hard on the door and will be in contention come squad selection,” he said.

The squad:

Lukhanyo Am, Ruan Botha, Chris Cloete, Andries Coetzee, Lionel Cronje, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Lood de Jager, Jean-Luc du Preez, Thomas du Toit, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Dewaldt Duvenage, Eben Etzebeth, Warrick Gelant, Lizo Gqoboka, Elton Jantjies, Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, Jesse Kriel, Pat Lambie, Dillyn Leyds, Frans Malherbe , Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Mapoe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi , Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Andisa Ntsila, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, Jano Vermaak , Harold Vorster, Warren Whiteley.

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