Following the announcement of the extended 46-man Springbok squad to face the British & Irish Lions, readers had the option of making one change to the squad.
Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber recalled the entire 2019 World Cup-winning squad – excluding the retired trio of Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Schalk Brits, and the injured Warrick Gelant – and added eight uncapped players to the group.
The eight uncapped players are Joseph Dweba (hooker), Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (lock), Jasper Wiese (loose forward), Sanele Nohamba (scrumhalf), Wandisile Simelane (centre), Yaw Penxe, Rosko Specman (both wings) and Aphelele Fassi (fullback).
Readers were given the opportunity to have their say on the squad and make a solitary change to bring one player in who they felt had been unfairly left out to replace a player that was included in the squad.
Marcell Coetzee was the most popular player to bring into the squad, as the overwhelming majority of readers thought that the Bulls loose forward should replace Toulouse’s Rynhardt Elstadt, who helped the French club win the European Champions Cup.
Coetzee, able to cover both No 8 and flank, was left out of the 46-man squad, with both Rassie Erasmus and Nienaber highlighting the importance of him getting some more game time after he recently recovered from a long-term injury.
Another popular option was to see Jan Serfontein recalled to the squad in place of potential debutant Wandisile Simelane.
Serfontein played a central role in Montpellier’s European Challenge Cup victory this year, but earned the last of his 35 Test caps in the 25-24 loss to the All Blacks at Newlands in 2017.
Simelane, meanwhile, has been the outstanding backline player for the Lions over the past couple of years and has been touted as a potential future Springbok since starring for the Junior Springboks in 2017 and 2018.
Other popular options were to see Bulls loosehead Lizo Gqoboka replace Sale Sharks tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen and La Rochelle’s Raymond Rhule take the place of another potential Test debutant in Yaw Penxe.
Photo: Marty Melville/AFP Photo