Nine Boks set for Currie Cup duty

Six will return to the squad on Sunday when preparations start for Portugal Test

The Sharks' Aphelele Fassi is one of nine Springboks available for their provinces in the Currie Cup this weekend.
The Sharks' Aphelele Fassi is one of nine Springboks available for their provinces in the Currie Cup this weekend.
Image: Steve Haag (Gallo Sport)

Nine Springboks not earmarked for duty against Ireland in Durban on Saturday have been released to join their respective Currie Cup teams.

The Springboks, having gone 1-0 up in the series in Pretoria last Saturday, have already named their match day squad for the second Test and some of the players deemed surplus to requirements have the opportunity to get game time, while delighting their provinces and competition and team sponsors.

Six of the nine players, all of whom will rejoin the Boks on Sunday before the Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein, Saturday week, have Test caps.

Due to return on Sunday are Trevor Nyakane (prop), Makazole Mapimpi, Edwill van der Merwe (both wings), André Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am (both centres) and Aphelele Fassi (fullback).

The other three players are Jan-Hendrik Wessels (prop), Phepsi Buthelezi (loose forward) and Morne van den Berg (scrumhalf).

By releasing the players SA Rugby will expose them to valuable game time, while it is hoped their experience and skill will be a boost to the Currie Cup.

Having Springbok players compete in the Currie Cup elevates the stature of the competition and will find favour not just with the provinces but also the sponsors.

We have a big squad and as valuable as it is to have so many players at training it’s important we keep the players match fit,” said Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.

Having the players compete in the Currie Cup means the Boks will have quick access should the squad need to be replenished.

We finished the groundwork for Saturday’s Test on Wednesday with the entire squad and we only have the captain’s run on Friday, so it makes sense to send some players to their unions to play rugby.

This will not only keep them sharp as individuals, it will also assist our cause if we do well against Ireland this week and decide to mix things up in team selection against Portugal.”

Erasmus praised the players for their hard work and dedication at training since joining the squad and he was confident most of them would make their Springbok debuts this season as the team builds towards to the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

Fresh faces are likely to feature against Portugal.

Erasmus rightly argued there is no substitute for real game time.

“We know they’ll return sharper and hopefully we can give many of them a chance against Portugal.

Some of the players played against Wales at Twickenham and I’m sure they are excited to get back onto the field in a proper match before joining us again on Sunday, while the other players haven’t played rugby in a few weeks, though they have trained hard and with intent for us.”

He stressed the importance of having a considerable pool of players to choose from. “Building squad depth has been one of our key pillars since 2018 and as I’ve said we are building towards to 2027, so it’s important we give a few of the young players a chance to prove themselves at top international level.”

The Springboks on Tuesday named an unchanged team for the second Test.


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