Home RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 Nel, Nkosi, Koch added to Springbok squad

Nel, Nkosi, Koch added to Springbok squad

The uncapped Blitzbok star Ruhan Nel, Vincent Koch (prop), Sbu Nkosi (wing), Lionel Mapoe (centre) and Ivan van Zyl (scrumhalf) have been added to the Springbok squad for their final two Castle Lager Rugby Championship home matches against the Wallabies and the All Blacks.
They will join the 17 players already in camp in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The Springboks face the Wallabies next Saturday, 29 September in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. They conclude the Castle Lager Rugby Championship with a return fixture against the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria a week later.

Nel, who plays outside for the DHL Western Province in the Currie Cup, is included amongst the backs alongside Mapoe. Nkosi has recovered from the ankle injury that stopped him from playing in any Castle Lager Rugby Championship matches so far this year.

Front ranker Koch is currently starring for Saracens in England. Meanwhile, Trevor Nyakane (prop, Vodacom Blue Bulls) will continue with his conditioning programme under the supervision of the Springbok conditioning and medical staff over the next two weeks.

Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, said he was excited to welcome back players such as Nyakane, Van Zyl, Mapoe and Nkosi, and to work with Nel and Koch.

“Ruhan comes with a lot of international experience with the Blitzboks and he has performed consistently well for DHL WP, so it will be good to see how he operates in the Bok environment,” said Erasmus.

“Trevor and Sbu have been part of the squad earlier in the year and it’s good to welcome them back, while the players who featured for their provinces in recent weeks all got some valuable game time.”

Meanwhile, only about 4 000 tickets are still available for the Port Elizabeth Test, while the South Africa versus New Zealand fixture will be played in front of a capacity crowd at Loftus Versfeld. Tickets to the PE Test are available through Computicket and any Money Market outlets.

The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship home leg against the Wallabies and All Blacks (in alphabetical order – name and surname, position, franchise/club, Test caps and points):

Forwards (16):

Schalk Brits (Hooker, Unattached), 11, 5 – 1t
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Lock/ loose forward, DHL Western Province), 40, 20 – 4t
Eben Etzebeth (Lock, DHL Western Province), 71, 15 – 3t
Steven Kitshoff (Prop, DHL Western Province), 31, 5 – 1t
Vincent Koch (Prop, Saracens, England), 9, 0
Siya Kolisi (Captain, Flanker, DHL Western Province), 35, 25 – 5t
Wilco Louw (Prop, DHL Western Province), 10, 0
Frans Malherbe (Prop, DHL Western Province), 23, 0
Malcolm Marx (Hooker, Emirates Lions), 18, 20 – 4t
Bongi Mbonambi (Hooker, DHL Western Province), 20, 10 – 2t
Franco Mostert (Lock, Xerox Golden Lions), 24, 5 – 1t
Tendai Mtawarira (Prop, Cell C Sharks), 105, 10 – 2t
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (No 8, DHL Western Province), 4, 0
RG Snyman (Lock, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 6, 0
Marco van Staden (Flanker, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 1, 0
Warren Whiteley (No 8, Xerox Golden Lions), 21, 15 – 3t
*Note: Trevor Nyakane (Prop, Vodacom Blue Bulls) will continue with his conditioning programme under the supervision of the Springbok conditioning staff

Backs (14):

Faf de Klerk (Scrumhalf, Sale Sharks, England), 18, 10 – 2t
Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing, Xerox Golden Lions), 7, 25 – 5t
André Esterhuizen (Centre, Cell C Sharks), 4, 0
Elton Jantjies (Flyhalf, Xerox Golden Lions), 28, 223 – 2t, 42c, 43p
Willie le Roux (Fullback, Wasps, England), 48, 60 – 12t
Cheslin Kolbe (Utility back, Toulouse, France), 2, 5 – 1t
Jesse Kriel (Centre, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 34, 45 – 9t
Lionel Mapoe (Centre, Xerox Golden Lions), 14, 10 – 2t
Ruhan Nel (Centre, DHL Western Province), uncapped
Sibusiso Nkosi (Wing, Cell C Sharks), 3, 10 – 2t
Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 3, 0
Handré Pollard (Flyhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 33, 265 – 3t, 50c, 47p, 3d
Ivan van Zyl (Scrumhalf, Vodacom Blue Bulls), 3, 0
Damian Willemse (Flyhalf, DHL Western Province), 2, 0


  1. Good calls. Koch not on form, but all the attributes to be one of the best. Mapoe to make up numbers.

  2. @cab:

    He’s exactly what the Boks need… pace, strength, size, boot, winger/full-back… but…

    The dude has hardly played even a handful of 15’s senior rugby of which I have seen none… total leftfield. There’s a fair few like Combrink that are more ‘deserving’.


    Mapoe is better and more experienced than Am (so far). Thought he slotted in well in the last test he played (where he hardly a utility back). But again there are other centres I would choose before him…

  3. Jacques and Bryce – I see Dobson rates him highly. Looks good on the highlight packages. I like a coach who tries things like this.

  4. Nothing, Rassie is building a squad of players, we always say that the AB have three players that can step up to AB test level if injuries come. The only way you can do that in SA is to test players in test environment.

    Thomas is part of the plan now he gives others a change so that he has the ability to have a group of props to pick from if front runners gets injured.

  5. @Jacques:

    Agreed, but at what stage do you start building continuity in your squad? Du Toit and Kitshoff were picking up some proper steam as a combination earlier in the year and subsequent to that they have not played together again while Malherbe got an extended (not impressive) run.

  6. I do not know this fro sure but what I can gather is that Rassie will do this till EOY tour. By December he will have his core players that he would want to take to the World Cup and the backup players.

    One can not ignore Vincent form for the past two years in England, you would be stupid to do so. Once we see him in action we can see if he is better than what we have or not.

    I know a lot of people disagree with me on this but I have no problem Rassie building till EOY tour.

  7. For sure, still a lot of building this year. In malherbe Louw and Koch – these are the best set of TH props SA has had since readmission. Du Toit not in that league yet.

  8. @Jacques:

    I hear you, but with Malherbe, Louw, Du Toit and a returning Nyakane in the tighthead prop mix, would be interesting to see where Koch will be in the pecking order once he joins the team.

  9. @Jacques:

    So let’s take a look at your logic (or Rassies) for argument’s sake of course.

    Thomas Du Toit, Frans Malherbe, Wilco Louw all get mostly sporadic game-time (at test level)… Nyanke is always going to be in the 23 form or no form, Oosthuizen is en-route back from injury and now he brings Koche back into the mix.

    So he’s effectively ‘trialling’ every single half-decent South African TH available domestically and international at test level no less. Genius… why don’t the top ranked test teams do the same? That’s right… because they ‘are’ the top ranked test teams and results, ‘performance’ KPI’s and legacy count. They ‘develop’ their players at provincial level and have ‘A’ sides (even more than one in some case)… so that there is seamless transition into the pinnacle side… not to mention the much needed ‘continuity in combinations’ at the top level not endless rotation and indecision.

    Now take what I’ve said above and apply it to the centres… exactly the same has been done with the pitfall’s being the same (no continuity, dubious combinations). Kriel, Am, Esterhuisen, DDA, Mapoe, Ruhan Nel, Pollard. Call it ‘developing’ a squad (at test level nogal)… I call it something else.

    As an aside. I was pushing for Koche the entire season last where he was the standout TH in the competition if not the world and has shown in Saracens recent drubbing that he’s instantly back in form. So I am very happy to see him back in the mix (even though the 30 test rule has simply been thrown out with the bath-water). I said last season and I’ll say it again… Kitschoff, Marx, Koche could arguably be the best current starting test front-row… but let’s not kid anyone that the likes of Malherbe, Louw, TDT will be discarded just as soon as Nyanke is back from injury… form or no form.

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