Bok boss surprises with Aussie tour squad: Four scrumhalves, eight loosies

A number of surprising selections highlighted the Springbok squad named on Monday to tour Australia, with Bok coach Jacques Nienaber picking 34 men to battle it out in their next two Rugby Championship games.

The Boks look to have overloaded their loose-forward and scrumhalf stocks, while they seem under stocked at hooker and wing.

Bongi Mbonambi is the big name missing from the traveling squad, after it was confirmed that the knee injury he picked up in training last week has ruled him out for four weeks, while URC star Evan Roos was another surprising pick to miss out.

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The Boks have thus gone with just two specialist hookers in Malcolm Marx and Joseph Dweba, while utility forward Deon Fourie will provide cover for them.

However Fourie has primarily played at flank over a number of years now, which means the Boks have essentially picked eight loose-forwards, when you consider Franco Mostert has played mostly at flank in recent times for them.

Duane Vermeulen and Jasper Wiese will duke it out for the number eight spot, while Elrigh Louw will back them up, along with Kwagga Smith.

Scrumhalf bonanza

Four scrumhalves have then been selected, in Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies and Cobus Reinach.

Although Reinach could also feature at wing in a pinch, it is strange as the Boks have only picked two out and out wingers in Makazole Mapimpi and uncapped Canan Moodie.

Lukhanyo Am has been the preferred player to feature on the wing recently when the Boks have picked up injuries, but he is much more suited to the midfield, where he organises the defence.

Warrick Gelant, Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel and Damian Willemse can all also cover wing, but all are more suited to other positions.

Andre Esterhuizen has recovered from the broken hand injury he picked up in the second Test against Wales and will act as cover for Damian de Allende and Am, while Frans Steyn also cracks the nod.

Overall it is a strong squad that has been selected, but leaves the Boks very short at both hooker and wing and should they pick up injuries in either of those departments could leave them in a spot of bother.

Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar, who was desperately unlucky to miss out on selection after a fantastic season, could have been called up, considering he toured with the Boks last year, while Aphelele Fassi would have provided good cover at wing.

The Boks face Australia Down Under in their next two games, on August 27 and September 3, before heading to Argentina for their match on September 17, with them then ending their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina in Durban on September 24.

Springbok touring squad

Props: Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Wasps), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Ox Nche (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92)

Hookers: Joseph Dweba (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears)

Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Salmaan Moerat (Stormers),

Loose-forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster)

Utility forwards: Deon Fourie (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)

Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier)

Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers)

Midfielders: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen, (Harlequins)

Outside backs: Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Canan Moodie (Bulls), Warrick Gelant

Utility Backs: Damian Willemse (Stormers), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Frans Steyn (Cheetahs)

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