Fly-half Handre Pollard and centre Lukhanyo Am are not included in South Africa’s 33-player team for the Rugby World Cup due to injuries.
Pollard scored 18 points in the championship match of the 2019 World Cup.
The pair were crucial contributors in South Africa’s triumph over England in the previous World Cup.
The decision to exclude them was extremely difficult, admitted the head coach of the Springboks, Jacques Nienaber.
Also in the squad is 32-year-old captain Siya Kolisi, who has been sidelined since April after tearing his right knee’s anterior cruciate ligament.
Nienaber noted that while any member of the 42-player training team would have been a valuable addition, injuries shaped the final roster, and there wasn’t enough time for some truly outstanding players.
Lood de Jager is yet another significant player who will not participate, owing to a chest issue. However, he, along with Pollard and Am, is part of a six-player reserve list.
The Springboks will kick off their title defense on September 10 against Scotland.
Pollard, 29, has been absent from the Springboks since the previous August due to a calf injury sustained in a semi-final game with Leicester in the Premiership. Meanwhile, Lukhanyo Am, also 29, suffered a knee injury in a victory over Argentina and is also excluded. Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen has been named in his place.
De Jager, another 2019 World Cup victor, was a last-minute withdrawal last weekend due to sickness and won’t be playing in the 2023 tournament.
Jean Kleyn, previously representing Ireland in the 2019 World Cup but recently debuted for the Springboks, was selected.
Four scrum-halves, Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach, and Grant Williams, were named by head coach Nienaber, who will travel to France. Canan Moodie, a 20-year-old winger, also secured a spot in the final squad.
The second pool match for the Springboks is scheduled against Romania on September 17, followed by games against Ireland and Tonga.
South Africa squad:
Forwards: Steven Kitshoff (Ulster), Vincent Koch (Cell C Sharks), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Jean Kleyn (Munster), Marvin Orie (Perpignan), RG Snyman (Munster), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (capt, Racing 92), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (SA Rugby), Jasper Wiese (Leicester), Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat).
Backs: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks), Manie Libbok (DHL Stormers), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers), Damian de Allende (Panasonic Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Cheslin Kolbe (Suntory Sungoliath), Willie le Roux (Vodacom Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls).
Follow the Rugby Union Weekly podcast for additional insights and updates.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: South Africa Rugby World Cup squad
Who are the notable players missing from South Africa’s Rugby World Cup squad?
Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am are the prominent players missing from the squad due to injury. Lood de Jager is also omitted due to a chest problem.
When does South Africa begin the defence of their Rugby World Cup title?
South Africa begins the defence of their Rugby World Cup title against Scotland on September 10.
Has Captain Siya Kolisi been included in the squad?
Yes, Captain Siya Kolisi, who hasn’t played since April after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, has been included in the squad.
Who replaced Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am in the squad?
Fly-half Manie Libbok is the only specialist fly-half in the squad replacing Pollard, while Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen has been named in place of Lukhanyo Am.
Who are some of the new inclusions in the South Africa squad?
Jean Kleyn, who previously played for Ireland at the 2019 World Cup, was included after making his Springboks debut. Additionally, 20-year-old winger Canan Moodie makes the final squad.
What is the schedule for South Africa’s pool games?
After the opening game against Scotland on September 10, the Springboks’ second pool game is against Romania on September 17, followed by matches against Ireland and Tonga.