Lions centre Wandisile Simelane will be rewarded with a first Springbok squad call-up, but for those Bulls players selected it will mean they will miss the Rainbow Cup final in Treviso, Italy on the 19th June, writes Mark Keohane.
Simelane, who was a star for the baby Springboks in 2018, has shown consistent form for the Lions in the past 12 months. He has been one of the best South African backs in all competitions.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and National Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus will confirm a national squad of 45 to play Georgia in a two-Test series and the British & Irish Lions in a three-Test series in the most anticipated international showdown of the season.
The word is that no players in the squad will be released to play in the 19th June Rainbow Cup final, which will mean Bulls coach Jake White being without five of his most senior players, all of whom have been part of the Bok alignment camps in recent weeks.
Nienaber’s extended squad will include those who will play for the SA ‘A team against the Lions in Cape Town in the midweek match before the first Test in Cape Town.
Once a player is in the squad, he will have to adhere to strict bio-bubble Covid protocols, which is why no player will be released for the Bulls overseas trip and why none of the 45 players will be available to play against the Lions in the four regional tour matches.
Indications are that every available member of the 2019 winning World Cup squad will be selected, which leaves 15 new faces or recalled Springboks.
Several overseas based Boks will be in the squad, including dynamic loose-forwards Jasper Wiese (Leicester) and the Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Dan. Toulouse-based loose-forward Rynhardt Elstadt is another likely inclusion.
Bulls newcomer Marcell Coetzee will hope that he did enough in a magnificent performance against the Stormers in the 31-27 win at Loftus on Friday evening to win a recall.
Bulls captain Duane Vermuelen limped off after 32 minutes with an ankle injury and Bulls coach Jake White said the injury did not look good.
Vermeulen, colossal in the 2019 World Cup final win against England, is an integral part of the Bok recipe for a successful series against the Lions.
Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies also left the field with illness and he will be included, alongside overseas-based No 9s Faf de Klerk and Cobus Reinach. The fourth scrumhalf position contenders are the Sharks duo of Sanele Nohamba and Jaden Hendrikse.
Also on www.keo.co.za