CAPE TOWN – Experienced prop Tendai Mtawarira has been ruled out of South Africa’s November internationals, but there will be a likely return for powerful number eight Duane Vermeulen after coach Rassie Erasmus named a training squad for the tour on Sunday.
Mtawarira, a veteran of 107 caps, has not been considered after he was injured in the narrow Rugby Championship loss to New Zealand earlier this month, but Vermeulen, lock Lood de Jager and prop Trevor Nyakane all return.
Vermeulen was a key figure in the Springboks’ 2-1 home series win over England in June, but was released to play in Japan during the Rugby Championship.
The 20-man training squad, which includes only locally-based players, will assemble in Stellenbosch this week, with the final selection for the four-game tour of the Northern Hemisphere to be announced on Saturday.
“It is good to welcome back a player of the calibre of Lood – he will add experience to a position where we already have some very good competition for places. Duane, of course, will also bring valuable experience to the group,” Erasmus said in a media release from SA Rugby on Sunday.
“It’s a tough tour and our preparation time is limited, but we have set ourselves some goals and as has been the case the entire season, we would like to see the squad continue to grow as a group and add to our depth with the 2019 Rugby World Cup less than a year away.”
The Boks open their tour against England on Nov. 3, before matches against France, Scotland and Wales on consecutive weekends. (Reuters)