Cape TownDuane Vermeulen, Handre Pollard (both Bulls), Lukhanyo Am, Sibusiso Nkosi (both Sharks) and Francois Louw (Bath) are among a group of 13 players who have been added to the Springbok training group in Pretoria in preparation of the upcoming Rugby Championship.

The Bulls and Sharks completed their Super Rugby commitments last weekend, meaning their invited players can join the current national training group. The squad has been in camp since last weekend, and the attendance will now increase to 39 players.

Ruan Botha (Sharks, foot surgery), Dan du Preez (Sharks, rib fracture), Warren Whiteley (Lions, knee surgery), Damian Willemse (Stormers, knee surgery) and Jan Serfontein (Montpellier, ankle surgery) were not considered for the training camp due to injury.

Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby, said he and the Springbok coaches are very pleased with the amount of work they were able to do with the group during the past week in Pretoria.

“After our series of alignment camps, it was great to get the available group of players together and to get going with our field sessions,” said Erasmus.

“Kwagga Smith has recovered from his hamstring strain and was cleared to return to training, which meant that we were able to have 25 players available for our daily field training sessions. Our captain, Siya Kolisi, is continuing with his rehabilitation and the aim is to have him ready in time for the start of the Rugby Championship.”

The Springboks will kick off their shortened Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday, July 20, against the Wallabies in Johannesburg, which will be followed a week later by the keenly awaited rematch with New Zealand in Wellington – the scene of last year’s epic away-win against the All Blacks.

The Boks will conclude their official campaign against Argentina two weeks later, on Saturday, August 10, in Salta, while the same two teams are set to meet again a week later in Pretoria in a once-off Test before the Boks report for Rugby World Cup training duty.

The Springbok training group now consists of the following players (new additions marked in bold):

Forwards

Schalk Brits (Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Ireland), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Marvin Orie (Lions), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Backs

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Andre Esterhuizen (Sharks), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Aphiwe Dyantyi (Lions), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Dillyn Leyds (Stormers), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Sibusiso Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)

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