Uncapped Malcolm Marx has received some consolation after finishing on the losing side in the Super Rugby final, with selection in a 31-man South African squad for the first two matches of this year’s Rugby Championship.
The Lions’ hooker finished a runner-up on Saturday against the Hurricanes in Wellington but had reason to smile just hours after the final whistle as the Springbok squad was announced.
Juan de Jongh, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Vincent Koch and Oupa Mohoje won recalls as seven changes were made to the squad that played three Tests in June against Ireland.
Among those dropped were experienced winger JP Pietersen and first-choice fullback Willie le Roux.
“JP and I recently held discussions and I have decided to give him a much-needed break because he has played a lot of rugby the past three years. Although he has joined English club Leicester, he will still be available for the Springboks. The same applies to Willie, who has just signed with Wasps,” said coach Allister Coetzee in a South African Rugby Union (SARU) statement.
“The other players who were part of the squad in June but have missed out on selection will continue to be part of the process going forward. We have to build depth because this is a long haul and a tough competition, and they are not out of our plans.”
South Africa open their campaign on August 20 against Argentina in Nelspruit and play away a week later in Salta. The Boks also play Australia and New Zealand home and away in the competition in September and October.
The selection of prop Trevor Nyakane is subject to medical clearance, SARU added.
Backs: Ruan Combrinck (Lions), Damian de Allende, Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Lions), Johan Goosen (Racing Metro), Bryan Habana (Toulon), Francois Hougaard (Worcester), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks), Rudy Paige (Bulls), Morne Steyn (Stade Francais)
Forwards: Lood de Jager (Cheetahs), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux), Vincent Koch (Stormers), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Francois Louw (Bath), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Teboho Mohoje (Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Lions), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Julian Redelinghuys (Lions), Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon), Warren Whiteley (Lions).