• Winners & losers of Bok squad

    Winners & losers of Bok squad
    Scott Taetsch/Gallo Images

    Jason Jenkins is the biggest winner in the Springboks end of year touring squad and Jordan Hendrikse the biggest loser, writes Mark Keohane.

    Lock Jenkins, who earned a first Bok call-up in 2018 with Rassie Erasmus’s first ever Bok match 23, dropped down the pecking order pre and post the 2019 World Cup success, but has been recalled on the back of a very impressive start to the Vodacom United Rugby Championship with Leinster.

    Jenkins and DHL Stormers utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu are selections that could turn to gold in the month of November, but the player who has lost serious ground for any immediate Bok aspirations is the Emirates Lions No 10 Hendrikse.

    It has not helped Hendrikse that in the 2022/23 URC season, he has played second fiddle to Gianni Lombard, who has been included at flyhalf in the SA ‘A’ squad that will play two midweek matches against Munster and Bristol respectively.

    Hendrikse, who was the national under 18 and under 20 flyhalf, made his senior debut at 19 years-old. He played against the British & Irish Lions in 2021 as a 19 year-old and was the first choice flyhalf for the Lions in the 2021/22 URC campaign.

    He was also selected for the Blitzboks last May, post his Lions URC commitments.

    Hendrikse was a surprise omission at flyhalf for the Lions in the opening month of the URC league, although he will start against the DHL Stormers on Saturday. He has scored 248 points in 29 matches for the Lions since 2021. He is still only 21 years-old.

    In the absence of Handre Pollard, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn, the No 10 jersey will go to Damian Willemse, with his provincial teammate Manie Libbok also in the Boks squad. The current SA under 20 flyhalf and captain Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu is the other flyhalf option. Feinberg-Mngomezulu is also capable of playing centre, wing and fullback.

    Goosen, who was earmarked to start at flyhalf for the Boks, is in the A squad, which puts Hendrikse, at best, EIGHTH in the pecking order.

    The core of the 2019 World Cup squad and 2021 British & Irish Lions series winners have been included in the Bok squad and the SA ‘A’ squad is a combination of exciting new talent with some veterans, most notably Bulls utility backs Johan Goosen and Cornal Hendricks.

    Joseph Dweba will feel he has lost out, with Erasmus and Nienaber opting for the utility value of veteran loose-forward and former hooker Deon Fourie.

    Bulls (and former Sharks winger) Sbu Nkosi has been picked in the Boks squad, despite being sent home by the Bulls coach Jake White for breaking tour protocols while on tour and Cell C Sharks fullback/winger Aphelele Fassi remains on the Bok outer as a SA ‘A inclusion.

    Veteran Bulls loose-forward Marcel Coetzee misses out, but there is a recall for Marco van Staden and there are selections for Stormers utility back Suleiman Hartzenberg and Lions centre Henco van Wyk.

    Personally, I’d have loved to see Van Wyk in the Bok squad, but it may still happen during the course of the month.

    The Bok squad is made up of 19 locally-based players and 16 overseas-based players. Seven of the squad will double as part of the Boks and SA ‘A squad, with the 19 selected ‘A’ squad players all based in South Africa.

    The Boks play Ireland, France, Italy and England, starting against Ireland next Saturday and the ‘A’ side plays Munster and England’s Bristol Bears.

    The Emirates Lions, with three players in the 54, are the least represented of the four South African URC franchises.

    Of the Boks match 23 that historically lost 12-11 to Wales in Bloemfontein, for the first ever Bok home defeat to Wales, three players have failed to make the combined 54-strong touring squad. They are Coetzee, fullback Warrick Gelant and Rynhardt Elstadt.

    Springbok touring squad:

    Props: Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Stade Francais), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Ox Nche (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92)
    Hookers: Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks)
    Locks: Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Jason Jenkins (Leinster), Salmaan Moerat, Marvin Orie (both Stormers)
    Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Sharks), Evan Roos (Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Bulls), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)
    Utility forwards: Deon Fourie (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
    Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier)
    Flyhalves: Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse (both Stormers)
    Centres: Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles)
    Outside backs: Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Sbu Nkosi (Bulls)
    Utility backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Bulls), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (Stormers)

    Full SA A squad:

    Forwards: Simphiwe Matanzima (Bulls), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Sharks), Sazi Sandi (Stormers), Mornay Smith (Bulls), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Bulls), Joseph Dweba (Stormers), Andre-Hugo Venter (Stormers), Ruan Nortje (Bulls), Phepsi Buthelezi (Sharks), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Sharks). Backs: Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Sanele Nohamba (Lions), Grant Williams (Sharks), Johan Goosen (Bulls), Gianni Lombard (Lions), Aphelele Fassi (Sharks), Cornal Hendricks (Bulls), Suleiman Hartzenberg (Stormers), Henco van Wyk (Lions).


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    Keo has written about South African and international rugby professionally for the last 25 years