Toulouse utility back Cheslin Kolbe has been added to the Springbok squad for the upcoming Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship.
The former Blitzboks and Stormers star was named in the 31-man Springbok touring group for the two away Tests against Australia on 8 September and New Zealand the week after.
‘Cheslin has certainly grabbed his opportunities for his French club and he has earned his spot in the squad. He is in good form and we are delighted to have him in the group,’ Rassie Erasmus commented.
Kolbe, who was a non-playing member of the 2016 Springbok tour squad to Europe, has established himself as a key backline player for Toulouse since joining the French club from Western Province last year.
The Bok coach also added five other players to the squad who returned from Argentina on Tuesday, namely Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Ross Cronjé, Schalk Brits and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
According to Erasmus, the six additions give the squad added experience in some areas, while also providing him with the chance to continue building squad depth for next year’s World Cup.
De Allende has shrugged off his injury while Cronjé, a regular in the Bok starting lineup last year, comes into the squad in a straight rotational switch with Ivan van Zyl, who will get some game time with his province in the Currie Cup.
‘Damian was close to full fitness during our recent training camp, while Ross, Jesse and Notshe got some valuable game time while playing for their provinces in the Currie Cup last weekend,’ Erasmus said.
De Allende and Wilco Louw have been released to play in the Currie Cup for Western Province on Friday evening and will link up with the squad before their departure from Johannesburg on Saturday.
The other players who had been training with the squad but will not travel Down Under are Van Zyl, Lwazi Mvovo, Lionel Mapoe, Marvin Orie and Akker van der Merwe, who are also released back to their respective provinces.
‘We would like to ensure these players remain match fit and the Currie Cup is the ideal place for them to ensure they don’t get rusty, which is why we decided it would be in their best interest to return to their provinces so that they can be considered for selection,’ Erasmus explained.
The Bok squad will assemble on Saturday in Johannesburg before flying out to Brisbane.
Forwards: Schalk Brits, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Warren Whiteley.
Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Ross Cronjé, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Aphiwe Dyantyi, André Esterhuizen, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Damian Willemse.
Photo: Manuel Blondeau/Getty Images