South Africa have been forced into six squad changes for Saturday’s test against England after English and French-based players were forced to rejoin their clubs because the clash falls outside the international test window.
Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Vincent Koch (Stade Francaise), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier) and Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) have returned to their respective clubs after Saturday’s 63-21 win over Italy in Genoa, SA Rugby said on Sunday.
They will be replaced by Thomas du Toit, Ntuthuko Mchunu (both props), Marco van Staden (flanker), Johan Goosen (flyhalf) and Grant Williams (scrumhalf) while Bulls wing Canan Moodie has recovered from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the first three tests of the tour against Ireland, France and Italy and will also join up with the squad in London.
“The players who will join us from the SA ‘A’ team all put up their hands in the midweek games and we are delighted to have them in the mix this week, while Canan showed what he can do at test level and I am sure he will be delighted to be back in the squad,” said coach Jacques Nienaber.
“As we said from the outset we wanted as many players as possible to get game time on this tour as we look ahead to the Rugby World Cup next year, and we believe the players and the team will benefit from this in the next few months.
“There are a lot of positives we can take from the tests against Italy, France and Ireland, but England will pose a completely different challenge and we need to be ready for that,” Nienaber added.
South Africa lost 19-16 to Ireland and 30-26 to France in their November internationals before Saturday’s runaway victory against Italy.