Am and Gelant rewarded but Springboks still have holes

Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am is finally ready for international action after he missed out earlier in the year through injury. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am is finally ready for international action after he missed out earlier in the year through injury. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

As a fairly demanding tour to Europe approaches, Allister Coetzee still hasn’t addressed weakness on the wings and an iffy loose trio mix.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee duly rewarded two of the best backs in this year’s Currie Cup campaign with a call-up to the national squad for the end-of-year tour to Europe on Sunday.

But he’s once again gambling with an under-powered and perhaps even unbalanced group of loose forwards, while failing to address the obvious defensive weaknesses of his wingers.

There can’t be too many complaints about the inclusions of Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am and quicksilver Blue Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant.

“Warrick and Lukhanyo are two examples of players who have excelled in the season so far. It’s great to have them in the squad and I look forward to working with them,” said Coetzee.

“This squad reflects consistency and continuity, while we also rewarded players who have constantly shown good form this season.”

Am is almost certain to make his international debut after team management granted Jan Serfontein permission to skip the tour as he wants to settle in at his new French club, Montpellier.

Many South African players have previously said France is not an easy country to adapt to initially.

There are no new faces among the forwards too.

Even Jean-Luc du Preez, who injured his right ankle during the Currie Cup final, has been provisionally selected.

His place though will only be confirmed once the results of an MRI scan have been received on Monday.

A replacement will be called up if medical advice states he can’t tour.

There are recalls for Cheetahs skipper Francois Venter – a wholehearted performer – and flanker Oupa Mohoje while Curwin Bosch’s presence will be met with mixed feelings.

The 20-year-old is undoubtedly talented but he had an iffy Currie Cup final.

“So far this season, this group has shown a genuine willingness to evolve and they continuously strive to be better players within our environment,” said Coetzee.

Springbok tour squad:

Forwards: Uzair Cassiem, Lood de Jager, Ruan Dreyer, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (c), Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Malcolm Marx, Oupa Mohoje, Franco Mostert, Beast Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Chiliboy Ralepelle.

Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Curwin Bosch, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Warrick Gelant, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Raymond Rhule, Louis Schreuder, Courtnall Skosan, Francois Venter.

WP didn’t expect to send the Sharks backwards the whole time

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12 January 2019 TURFFONTEIN

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