Giant RG Snyman’s form for Vodacom United Rugby Championship winners Munster was enough to earn him a recall to the Springbok camp for their second preparation camp in Durban from Monday to Wednesday.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber named a squad of 33 players - which doubled from the first squad as overseas leagues completed their fixtures - and included 10 players who were involved in the URC final on Saturday.
The Boks had their first camp around 10 days ago, with the Japanese-based players, Stormers players and Ulster’s Duane Vermeulen and Snyman joining for the second squad as the preparations for a tough international season start in earnest.
A squad of 33 players will gather in Durban on Monday for the second #Springboks preparation camp - more here: https://t.co/obLOrzNwcA ????#StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/qT2oQV7WrJ— Springboks (@Springboks) May 27, 2023
But Snyman’s inclusion was the highlight for a player who hasn’t played much rugby since he was part of the Springboks’ bomb squad in 2019 and had only 10 caps for Munster since joining them after the last World Cup.
Snyman has endured two heartbreaking knee injuries, had to undergo a skin graft for a firepit freak accident and has battled his way against all this and looked destined not to go to France later this year when the Bok management admitted that time was running out.
But his performances for Munster this season, including giving the pass for the match-winning try on Saturday, have underlined what a talented player he is and how much the Boks want him back in the squad.
The rest of the squad contained no surprises and included players who have previously been involved in Bok squads.
There were also a handful of injured players - including Bok captain Siya Kolisi, lock Eben Etzebeth, scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse and prop Thomas du Toit, who will continue working with the Bok medical team at the camp.
The nine DHL Stormers players invited include experienced props Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff, utility back Damian Willemse, flyhalf Manie Libbok and utility forward Deon Fourie, while the contingent of Japanese players consists of hooker Malcolm Marx, loose forward Kwagga Smith, lock Lood de Jager, utility forward Franco Smith and centre Damian de Allende.
RUGBY CHAMPS PREPARATIONS
Smith won the Japanese League player of the year award this past week after dominating the league with some exceptional performances.
“We are delighted to have a quality training squad at this camp. The squad size will allow us to have productive on-field training sessions without having to rotate and manage players too much,” said Nienaber.
“We had a strong core of the players at the last preparation camp, and we intend to build on the foundation we laid there when we assemble in Durban, and I believe this will set us in good stead going into the Castle Lager Rugby Championship camp in Pretoria next month.
“This will mark the first time most of the players will be in the national set-up this season, as the alignment camps in Cape Town and Stellenbosch and the last preparation camp in Durban included mainly the locally based players. We did, however, have online alignment sessions with the overseas based players, so we are excited about this opportunity to work with them in person.”
The Boks will begin their preparations for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at a training camp in Pretoria from Monday 12 to Friday 30 June, with the team slotting into match mode the following week for their opening match against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 8 July.
Nienaber’s charges will then depart for New Zealand for their second test of the condensed version of the competition against the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland (15 July), before returning to South Africa for their closing match against Argentina in Johannesburg (29 July).
The Springboks will play three Rugby World Cup warm-up matches: against Argentina in Buenos Aires (Saturday, 5 August), Wales in Cardiff (Saturday, 19 August) and New Zealand in London (Friday, 25 August) respectively.
The World Cup matches include pool games against Scotland in Marseille (Sunday, 10 September), Romania in Bordeaux (Sunday, 17 September), Ireland in Paris (Saturday, 23 September) and Tonga in Marseille (Sunday, 1 October).
SPRINGBOK TRAINING SQUAD:
Props: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks).
Hookers: Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers), Malcom Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks).
Locks: Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers), RG Snyman (Munster).
Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster).
Utility Forwards: Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat).
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks).
Flyhalves: Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).
Centres: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles).
Outside Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls).