Springboks recall forward Louw for Tests against Argentina

Johannesburg (AFP) –


South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber on Sunday announced a 42-man squad, including recalled prop Wilco Louw, for two home Rugby Championship matches against Argentina on August 14 and 21 in Gqeberha.

The group includes the matchday 23 who clinched a 2-1 overall victory over the British and Irish Lions by winning the third Test in Cape Town on Saturday.

A 79th-minute penalty converted by 37-year-old Morne Steyn proved decisive 12 years after he won the 2009 series for the Springboks over the Lions with another late penalty.

Steyn was recalled after a four-year absence, and for the Argentina Tests tighthead Louw from English Premiership club Harlequins returns having being out of favour for several seasons.

South Africa have an embarrassment of tighthead riches with Frans Malherbe the incumbent and Vincent Koch, Trevor Nyakane, Thomas du Toit and now Louw also in contention.

Veteran eighthman Duane Vermeulen, who missed the Lions Tests due to a ankle injury that required surgery, is included after joining the squad a week before the final Test against the tourists.

Nienaber said there were no serious injuries after the dramatic series-winning triumph over the Lions, but he will consider resting a few players after the three physically and mentally demanding matches.

"Some players who were part of the initial squad for our conditioning camp in June have not had an opportunity yet, so we will look to give some of them a run in the next few weeks.

- 'Maintain standards' -

"It is important that we manage the players well to maintain the standards we have set for ourselves, and that includes game time for some players and resting others.

"Everything we do now has to be geared toward delivering a quality performance when we kick off our Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina on Saturday."

Both matches against the Pumas are being staged in the eastern Cape city formerly called Port Elizabeth because of the coronavirus pandemic situation in Argentina.

Covid-19 will also affect South Africa with both their home and away fixtures against Australia and New Zealand being played in those countries.

New Zealand and Australia also launch their Championship campaigns on Saturday at Eden Park in Auckland, one week after the All Blacks defeated the Wallabies in a Bledisloe Cup match.

Springbok squad

Forwards (24): Joseph Dweba, Rynhardt Elstadt, Eben Etzebeth, Johan Grobbelaar, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi (capt), Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Dan du Preez, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Thomas du Toit, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese

Backs (18): Damian de Allende, Lukhanyo Am, Aphelele Fassi, Jaden Henrikse, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Makazole Mapimpi, Sibusiso Nkosi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Willie le Roux, Rosko Specman, Francois Steyn, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse

Coach: Jacques Nienaber (RSA)