CAPETOWN (Reuters) – South Africa will be without fullback Willie le Roux and loose-forward Francois Louw for the Rugby Championship clash against Australia in Port Elizabeth on Sept. 29 after the pair were released to their English clubs.
Le Roux will return to Wasps and Louw to Bath after the duo featured in the first four matches for the Springboks in the southern hemisphere championship.
Coach Rassie Erasmus has also confirmed that injured centres Damian De Allende and Lukhanyo Am, and wing Makazole Mapimpi, have also been ruled out of the final two games of the competition, which also include a meeting with New Zealand in Pretoria on Oct. 6.
“While we lost a couple of players to injury, we are looking forward to possibly welcoming back some others who have been playing for their provinces and have recovered from injury,” Erasmus said in a press release from SA Rugby on Thursday.
“The two home matches will give us more time to work together as a group, to build on continuity and increase our depth.”
The Boks will have just 17 players in camp from Friday, with others set to join after the weekend’s domestic Currie Cup competition as Erasmus assesses his options.
“We are still keeping an eye on a number of players who we would like to involve in the coming weeks, but we would first like to see them get through their provincial matches this weekend,” the coach said.
The Boks remain in contention for the Rugby Championship trophy after a stunning 36-34 victory over New Zealand in Wellington last weekend, and trail the All Blacks by six points in the standings.
Provisional Bok squad:
Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi (captain), Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, RG Snyman, Warren Whiteley.
Backs: Faf de Klerk, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Andre Esterhuizen, Elton Jantjies, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Handre Pollard.
(Reporting By Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)