Nienaber’s most trusted Boks heading to Rugby World Cup

Nienaber picks his most trusted Springboks By Sthembiso Nkabinde The Springboks will get the defence of their World Cup title in France without the immediate services of three of their trusted soldiers in Lukhanyo Am, Handré Pollard and Lood de Jäger.

Boks coach, Jacques Nienaber, has selected a squad that includes the bulk of the players that won the global showpiece in Japan four years ago, with the aforementioned trio the only big names missing. It’s not all doom and gloom for the pair of Am and Pollard, however, as they are still in with a chance of joining the group at a later stage should there be any injuries. Outside centre Am will get on the plane as part of the group of 38 that departs for the UK tour alongside Joseph Dweba, Thomas du Toit and Jean-Luc du Preez. Pollard has started training with the Boks but like Am, can only make the squad at a later point in the event of an injury to one of the players already selected ahead of him or any other unforeseen situation.

De Jäger, who is said to suffer severe chest issues, will miss the tournament, with Nienaber set to rely on the likes of Eben Etzebeth, RG Snyman, Marvin Orie and Jean Kleyn as his locks.

Fingers are crossed that inspirational captain Siya Kolisi would overcome his knee injury in time to lead the Boks at the biggest stage. Kolisi underwent surgery for knee injury in April and hasn’t played since but will be back to spearhead the side to what they hope will be a successful title defence.

Nienaber will also build his squad around the rest of the World Cup winners from four years ago, who will form the core of the team gunning for more success at the global showpiece.

Sunday World looks at five key players for Nienaber at the upcoming World Cup in France starting from September 8.

Siya Kolisi: Although he is yet to play a game this year, Kolisi remains a crucial part of the Boks team with not only his ability on the field but also his leadership skills. The Boks brains trust will be hoping that Kolisi will be able to draw on the well of resilience he showed in 2019 when he returned from injury to lead the team to glory.

Eben Etzebeth: Etzebeth is another leader for the Springboks on the field, with the experienced lock one of the players who have seen it all, from the low of a record defeat to the All Blacks to the high of the 2019 World Cup triumph.

Makazole Mapimpi: Mapimpi, who had to overcome his challenging upbringing in the Eastern Cape, has now evolved into a well-rounded, world-class wing who can determine the outcomes of matches. He has taken on the role of a try-scoring machine in the green and gold as he is so often the man who comes up with the goods when the team needs him and it is likely be no different in France.

Willie le Roux: Le Roux is an undoubted mercurial talent who has never disappointed in the green and gold, often playing the role of second play maker. The 86 cap stalwart has won it all at the international level, with his trophy cabinet including a World Cup medal, Rugby Championship winners’ medal and a British and Irish Lions series winners’ medal.

Duanne Vermeulen: The veteran, affectionately known as “Thor” will be out to end his illustrious career with one more World Cup appearance, but will face stiff competition from the talented Jasper Wiese.

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