Kolbe returns, two rookies in Boks squad for Europe tour


South Africa have included uncapped flyhalves Manie Libbok and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu in their squad for next month’s autumn international series, and electric winger Cheslin Kolbe returns after recovering from injury.

The Springboks will play four Tests, starting against Ireland in Dublin on Nov. 5, followed by matches on consecutive Saturdays against France, Italy, and England.

The Boks face a mini-crisis at flyhalf with regular first choice Handre Pollard injured, Elton Jantjies unavailable for selection, and the experienced Frans Steyn also on the treatment table.

But the Stormers pair of Libbock and Feinberg-Mngomezulu have shown excellent form in the United Rugby Championship.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu, 20, who also holds a British passport, is a reported target for England coach Eddie Jones so is likely to be capped on tour by the Boks at some stage to ward off that attention.

“Manie and Sacha have shown what they are capable of at United Rugby Championship and Junior Springbok level,” Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said in a media release from South African Rugby.

“We are facing three of the top five teams in the world in Ireland, France and England, and we are building our squad for the World Cup next year at the same time, so it was important to maintain consistency in selection while also rewarding a few talented young players.”

Injuries to key players have “granted us an opportunity to see what the next generation of players can do,” he added.

There is also a recall for Leinster lock Jason Jenkins, while Kolbe has returned from a jaw injury.

But Lukanyo Am has not recovered in time, meaning there are three specialist centres on tour in Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, and Jesse Kriel.

Damian Willemse can also cover in that position, but is expected to start at flyhalf after an impressive Rugby Championship in that position.

South Africa have also selected an ‘A’ squad that will take on Irish side Munster and Bristol Bears in midweek games.

This will be a selection made up from players in the main Bok squad and some notable other names, including flyhalf Johan Goosen, centre Cornal Hendricks and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies.

South Africa squad:

Props: Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane

Hookers: Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi

Locks: Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Jason Jenkins, Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie

Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Evan Roos, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Jasper Wiese

Utility forwards: Deon Fourie, Franco Mostert

Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach

Flyhalves: Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse

Centres: Damian de Allende, Andre Esterhuizen, Jesse Kriel

Outside backs: Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi

Utility backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Cheslin Kolbe, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

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