SA Rugby magazine looks closer at the 10 Springboks cut from the initial 47-man squad, how they performed and what lies ahead.
Jean-Luc du Preez
Jean-Luc was selected in the Springbok squad following an excellent season as Sale’s destroyer-in-chief. He started the SA A match against the Bulls in the second row, making some good contributions, but largely struggled as part of a pack not winning the collisions. He looks more comfortable at flank and fans will be disappointed not to have seen more of him in this role.
Dan du Preez
Perhaps the most unfortunate player to have been cut from the squad, Dan was initially selected after his barnstorming form in the English Premiership. Many felt that he might be the answer to the Springboks’ worries in the wake of the injury to Duane Vermeulen. As it happened, the big No 8 contracted Covid-19 and did not get a chance to represent either the Boks or SA A. He will return to Sale, along with his brother, desperate to earn a recall.
Oosthuizen was an unexpected selection in the original Springbok squad. He joined having played mostly at tighthead for Sale but was subsequently used at loosehead by SA A against the B&I Lions and Bulls. Sadly, he didn’t quite make the impact on the other side of the scrum he would have hoped for. He will return to Sale in time for their pre-season preparations.
Simelane only appeared once for SA A in their match against the Bulls. He was, however, one of the players who had a better outing in that match. The Lions centre has long been touted as a future Springbok and his time will certainly come. He’ll rejoin the Johannesburg franchise hungrier than ever.
Mbatha was called up to the Bok squad as Covid-19 cover before their match against the Bulls. The Sharks hooker was also part of the initial alignment camps and has clearly been earmarked by Bok management as one to watch in future. He will be glad to have been exposed to the Springbok set-up and it could set him up well for an international career.
Veteran Ntubeni may have been hoping for a swansong opportunity to represent the Boks for a second time. Sadly, it was not to be, with the cancelled second Test against Georgia likely depriving him of this. He will return to the Stormers feeling unfortunate not to have repitched in the green and gold.
The livewire Nohamba replaced Cobus Reinach in the match against the Bulls. The 21-year-old didn’t get an extended opportunity to showcase his talents, but will be buoyed by the experience and confidently rejoin the Sharks to contest for the starting jersey with Jaden Hendrickse.
‘Specmagic’ dazzled fans in brief flashes during his two starts against Georgia and the Bulls. In the latter game, he had two memorable linebreaks which could have resulted in tries. The former sevens star chose to try to push for Lions selection instead of going to the Tokyo Olympics. He will be disappointed not to have made the final squad, but showed enough in his starts to suggest he may yet earn a few more Springbok caps.
Gqoboka missed out on the original Bok squad as he was still nursing an injury. Subsequently, he was called up as Covid cover but did not receive enough game time to stake a remaining claim to the squad. He will return to the Bulls, eager to prove the selectors wrong.
Penxe was another who suffered from limited opportunities, starting only the one match against the Bulls. In a disjointed team performance, he struggled to make an impression. The Springbok coaches have, however, identified him as a player to watch in the future. The competition on the wings is very intense in the Bok set-up, but Penxe may get a chance in the future.