Sale’s Saffas set to join Bok camp

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond has confirmed that the club’s South African contingent will join a pre-season Springbok camp to prepare for international action.

The Springboks are set to play in a shortened version of the Rugby Championship – hosted by either New Zealand or Australia – in November. However, with doubts over whether the tournament can go ahead as planned, the Springboks have also been linked to joining an ‘Eight Nations’ tournament with the Six Nations and Fiji.

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Speaking to the Telegraph, Diamond revealed that eight of Sale’s South African contingent could be included in a Springbok camp to prepare for the November Test window.

This would mean recalls for the likes of the Du Preez brothers – Robert, Jean-Luc and Daniel – as well as Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen and Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who all missed out on a place in the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup squad.

‘Every South African I have got, with the exception of [new signing] Cobus [Wiese], has been called up,’ Diamond told the newspaper.

‘We don’t lose them until the end of the season but we’ve got two league games and two European games [early next season], so something will have to give.’

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Robert du Preez earned his only Test cap when he came off the bench for the Springboks against Wales in the infamous Washington DC match. His form has been hot and cold for the Sale Sharks, but he is currently fourth on the Premiership season’s top-scorers list.

Du Preez’s younger brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel, were part of the Springboks’ preparations for the 2019 World Cup, but both failed to make the final squad.

Van der Merwe played for the Boks during the June 2018 series against England, but fell out of favour, with Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx and Schalk Brits travelling to Japan as the three hookers.

17-cap prop Oosthuizen played the last of his Tests against Ireland in November 2017, just before Rassie Erasmus took over as Springbok coach, but he was also part of the Bok camps in 2019.

Janse van Rensburg’s only Test for the Springboks came against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in 2016. The 25-year-old centre has been in impressive form for Sale in the 2019-20 Premiership season and is fifth on the season’s defenders-beaten list.

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Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images