Fullback Willie le Roux has had an eventful two weeks where he has been part of teams that have made history and he is back in Springbok colours to add sting to the Test team’s attack.
Le Roux was in sensational form as the Springboks beat the All Blacks 36-34 in Wellington 10 days ago for their first win in New Zealand’s capital this century.
Then‚ a week later in the colours of English club Wasps‚ Le Roux played his part in Wasps’ first-ever away win at the AJ Bell Stadium against Sale‚ and their first away win over that club since 2010.
Within hours Le Roux was back on a plane to Johannesburg on Sunday and on to Port Elizabeth to join the Springboks as they prepare to face the Wallabies at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this weekend.
Le Roux initially wasn’t supposed to be part of the home leg of the Rugby Championships against the Wallabies and All Blacks but coach Rassie Erasmus and Wasps counterpart Dai Young came to an agreement.
“Willie’s slotted straight back in – that’s what you get from world-class players‚” Young said after Wasps’ win over Sale.
“He goes [back to South Africa] with our best wishes.”
It’s a huge boost for the Boks to have Le Roux in the mix after his commanding performance against the All Blacks.
There is also a personal milestone ahead for Le Roux‚ who could play his 50th Test against the All Blacks in Pretoria.
Erasmus named a 30-man squad on Sunday‚ which included a surprise first call-up for Western Province centre and Blitzboks star Ruhan Nel.
Saracens tighthead Vincent Koch has also been recalled for the first time since 2016. He will have a chance to add his nine Test caps.
Koch left SA when the 30-cap rule was in place‚ effectively giving up his Test career.
He acknowledged at the time that it was a decision he’d made peace with after being part of a Bok team that struggled in 2016.
Erasmus though‚ has been allowed to pick overseas-based players with fewer than 30 test caps‚ and Koch has been recalled on that basis.
It’s unclear at this stage what role Koch is likely to play considering tighthead incumbents Frans Malherbe and Wilco Louw have performed well for the Boks this season.
Sbu Nkosi (wing)‚ Lionel Mapoe (centre) and Ivan van Zyl (scrumhalf) have also been added to the Springbok squad for their final two Rugby Championship matches.
Nkosi has recovered from the ankle injury that stopped him from playing in any Rugby Championship matches so far this year after making a strong start to his Test career against England in June.
Meanwhile‚ Trevor Nyakane (prop‚ Blue Bulls) will continue with his conditioning programme under the supervision of the Springbok conditioning and medical staff over the next two weeks.
“Ruhan comes with a lot of international experience with the Blitzboks and he has performed consistently well for WP‚ so it will be good to see how he operates in the Bok environment‚” said Erasmus.
“Trevor and Sbu have been part of the squad earlier in the year and it’s good to welcome them back‚ while the players who featured for their provinces in recent weeks all got some valuable game time.”
Squad: in alphabetical order – name and surname‚ position‚ franchise/club‚ Test caps and points: Forwards:
Schalk Brits (Hooker‚ Unattached)‚ 11‚ 5 – 1t
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Lock/ loose forward‚ Western Province)‚ 40‚ 20 – 4t
Eben Etzebeth (Lock‚ Western Province)‚ 71‚ 15 – 3t
Steven Kitshoff (Prop‚ Western Province)‚ 31‚ 5 – 1t
Vincent Koch (Prop‚ Saracens‚ England)‚ 9‚ 0
Siya Kolisi (Captain‚ Flank‚ Western Province)‚ 35‚ 25 – 5t
Wilco Louw (Prop‚ Western Province)‚ 10‚ 0
Frans Malherbe (Prop‚ Western Province)‚ 23‚ 0
Malcolm Marx (Hooker‚ Lions)‚ 18‚ 20 – 4t
Bongi Mbonambi (Hooker‚ Western Province)‚ 20‚ 10 – 2t
Franco Mostert (Lock‚ Golden Lions)‚ 24‚ 5 – 1t
Tendai Mtawarira (Prop‚ Sharks)‚ 105‚ 10 – 2t
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (No 8‚ Western Province)‚ 4‚ 0
RG Snyman (Lock‚ Blue Bulls)‚ 6‚ 0
Marco van Staden (Flank‚ Blue Bulls)‚ 1‚ 0
Warren Whiteley (No 8‚ Golden Lions)‚ 21‚ 15 – 3t
*Note: Trevor Nyakane (Prop‚ Vodacom Blue Bulls) will continue with his conditioning programme under the supervision of the Springbok conditioning staff Backs (14):
Faf de Klerk (Scrumhalf‚ Sale Sharks‚ England)‚ 18‚ 10 – 2t
Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing‚ Golden Lions)‚ 7‚ 25 – 5t
André Esterhuizen (Centre‚ Sharks)‚ 4‚ 0
Elton Jantjies (Flyhalf‚ Golden Lions)‚ 28‚ 223 – 2t‚ 42c‚ 43p
Willie le Roux (Fullback‚ Wasps‚ England)‚ 48‚ 60 – 12t
Cheslin Kolbe (Utility back‚ Toulouse‚ France)‚ 2‚ 5 – 1t
Jesse Kriel (Centre‚ Blue Bulls)‚ 34‚ 45 – 9t
Lionel Mapoe (Centre‚ Golden Lions)‚ 14‚ 10 – 2t
Ruhan Nel (Centre‚ Western Province)‚ uncapped
Sibusiso Nkosi (Wing‚ Sharks)‚ 3‚ 10 – 2t
Embrose Papier (Scrumhalf‚ Blue Bulls)‚ 3‚ 0
Handré Pollard (Flyhalf‚ Blue Bulls)‚ 33‚ 265 – 3t‚ 50c‚ 47p‚ 3d
Ivan van Zyl (Scrumhalf‚ Blue Bulls)‚ 3‚ 0
Damian Willemse (Flyhalf‚ Western Province)‚ 2‚ 0