On Tuesday, 8 August, the national coaches will unveil their 33-man Boks squad for the World Cup, and there are likely to be both surprise inclusions and omissions.
Below we take a look at three players who could be shock omissions.
This would be a huge surprise if it were to materialise, but there is no doubt that Kurt-Lee Arendse has enjoyed a meteoric rise to now be viewed as the first-choice left wing. If the Boks want to make space for both Grant Williams and Canan Moodie, who offer utility value, there is a chance that there could be no room for Mapimpi on the plane to France. It’s ultimately a massive decision that must be made within the next fortnight.
Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a shock, but considering how well Esterhuizen played in the opening Test of the Rugby Championship against Australia, there is no doubt that it would be an extremely unfortunate turn of events for the powerful inside centre. It all depends on whether the Boks feel they can rely on Handre Pollard and Damian Willemse to cover 12, and if that is the case, Esterhuizen could find himself to be extremely unfortunate.
When it comes to settling on a ‘swing’ prop who can cover loosehead and tighthead, the Boks may only have space for Thomas du Toit or Nyakane. It has recently appeared that Nyakane has maybe fallen slightly out of favour at the Boks, but he will have a big opportunity to make an impact off the bench this weekend. If he were to somehow miss out on selection for the World Cup, it would be a huge surprise.
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BOKS TRAINING SQUAD:
Props: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Stade Francais), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92).
Hookers: Joseph Dweba (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks).
Locks: Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks), Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers), RG Snyman (Munster), Jean Kleyn (Munster).
Loose Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Evan Roos (DHL Stormers), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster), Jasper Wiese (Leicester).
Utility Forwards: Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks), Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat).