It has been more than two years since the last EOY tours which sees the Southern Hemisphere going up North to test themselves against the Six Nations unions.
With 2019 World Cup year we did not see any tours after the World Cup and the pandemic made sure no tours were able to take place in 2020 but all the nations are eager and ready to take each other on as the 2023 World Cup in France is getting closer and not much time left to get teams ready.
New Zealand and Australia have already played their first matches this weekend with the Aussies that had to work hard for their win against Japan and the All Blacks beating the USA on Saturday as well.
In the next few weeks the South will invade the North to see who have the upper hand going into 2022.
The Springboks had a mixed 2021 when it comes to results with plenty of thing going on off the field, form Rassie video which was leaked to social media to the Springboks game being called boring and killing the game.
At the end Jacques Nienaber has a British & Irish Lions Series medal and trophy to go with their World Cup medals of 2019 and after some pretty ordinary results against Australia the Springboks bounce back to loose against the All Blacks with last minute penalty and won the next one with the same.
They also retook the number spot on the World Rugby Rankings and go into this European tour as the World Cup Champions and Number 1 team in the world.
With that tags they will know that every time they take the field it will be a team gunning for them with all they got so this is no surprise that Jacques and his coaching team have not changed much with the squad that won the Lions Series and toured to Australia for the Rugby Championship.
There was off course a few supporters and members of the media that voiced their opinion in Nienaber not giving some young players the opportunities on this tour and rest some of his key players but something about this tweet stuck with me….
Then they played two test against Argentina before going over to Australia to play Australia twice and New Zealand twice. A few weeks off but some have already been playing for their clubs and now lies the 3 test against Wales, Scotland and England ahead.
After these November test they will slot back in with their clubs and franchises till 18 June next year where they will go back into a test window and after that again Rugby Championship which will follow into the end of year tour again and club rugby.
That does not give then a lot of resting time and something we need to except. So in some way I want to agree with Morne, better they stay with Springboks where their load can be manage at least when they in camp.
Now back to this EOY tour, this is no easy task for Jacques and his team. Wales is the current Six Nations Champions and facing them first will be one hell of a test match. Sure their is still some feeling amount the Welsh about the World Cup Semi Final which the Springboks end their dreams of winning their first World Cup.
Next will be a Scottish team who has been improving each year and they almost like the French of old where you never know who will pitch up on the day.
The big one will be the re-match against Eddie Jones England side who loss badly in that 2019 Final and this will be the first time the two teams will meet again.
As we expected, Nienaber did not change much for this tour and it is understandable. Why would you ask?
Well firstly the Springboks missed the whole of 2020 which was a major setback in their preparation for defending the World Cup in 2023. One thing can be sure and that is that there would have been two goals for Jacques and his coaching team….beat the Lions in 2021 and defend the World Cup in France.
The first one was ticked off so all emphasis will now be moved to put everything in place to defend their title in France.
Saying that we know that between the Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and Head Coach Jacques Nienaber, they go full tilt on planning and executing that plan. We saw that with their lead up and winning the 2019 World Cup.
In this group Nienaber only selected new players where he have injuries and for that reason Salmaan Moerat earned his first Springbok call-up. He is the only newcomer in the squad. The only other uncapped player is Grant Williams who did tour to Australia with the squad but did not play in any of the test matches.
Players who are currently not in the squad are Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Frans Malherbe and RG Snyman. Other players who was not considered for selection is Pieter Steph du Toit and Rynhardt Elstadt.
Nienaber squad has 18 forwards and 14 backs.
The Springboks have departed already for France to prepare and will then make their way to Cardiff o face Wales in the first test match.
Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour:
Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks) – 13 caps, 0 pts
Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 56 caps, 5pts (1t)
Vincent Koch (Saracens) – 28 caps, 0 pts
Ox Nché (Cell C Sharks) – 6 caps, 0pts
Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls) – 51 caps, 5pts (1t)
Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux Bègles) – 1 cap, 0 pts
Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 43 caps, 45 pts (9t)
Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers) – 45 caps, 45 pts (9t)
Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks) – 53 caps, 25 pts (5t)
Eben Etzebeth (Toulon) – 94 caps, 15 pts (3t)
Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) – Uncapped
Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers) – 7 caps, 0 pts
Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 60 caps, 30 pts (6t)
Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo) – 16 caps, 5 pts (1t)
Marco van Staden (Leicester Tigers) – 9 caps, 0 pts
Duane Vermeulen (Ulster) – 58 caps, 15 pts (3t)
Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 8 caps, 0 pts
Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 48 caps, 5pts (1t)
Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 18 caps, 25 pts (5t)
Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) – 18 caps, 40pts (8t)
Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks) – Uncapped
Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes) – 41 caps, 309 pts (2t, 64c, 56p, 1d)
Handré Pollard (Montpellier) – 57 caps, 558 pts (6t, 83c, 120p, 4d)
Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 23 caps, 25 pts (5t)
Damian de Allende (Munster) – 55 caps, 35 pts (7t)
Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 48 caps, 60 pts (12t)
Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks) – 2 caps, 10pts (2t)
Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 70 caps, 60 pts (12t)
Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 22 caps, 85 pts (17t)
Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks) – 25 caps, 45 pts (9t)
Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 14 caps, 5pts (1t)
Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs) – 71 caps, 141pts (11t, 7c, 21p, 3d)
Castle Lager Outgoing Tour fixtures (SA kick-off times):
Saturday, 6 November
19h30 – Wales v South Africa (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)
Saturday, 13 November
15h00 – Scotland v South Africa (BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh)
Saturday, 20 November
17h15 – England v South Africa (Twickenham, London)