Africa-Press – South-Africa. Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids confirmed that experienced No 8 Duane Vermeulen was in selection contention for the second Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Vermeulen had surgery to rectify a knee injury after the United Rugby Championship, missing out on the three incoming Wales Tests and the Boks’ win over New Zealand in Mbombela last Saturday.
However, no replacements will be called up for Faf de Klerk, who has been ruled out this week due to World Rugby’s concussion protocols and wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, who has been suspended for four matches following a red card.
Arendse’s aerial challenge on Beauden Barrett that earned him a late red card also saw him suffer a concussion from the clash.
“Duane is ready for selection, so he will be coming into contention for this week,” said Davids.
“Faf and Kurt-Lee suffered from a concussion and they are following the World Rugby protocol in terms of that.”
Despite Arendse’s lengthy suspension and Cheslin Kolbe’s jaw fracture, the Boks aren’t looking at new additions to the squad.
Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi, who played wing three times for the Boks so far, is the glaring omission following his release from the camp after the Wales series.
The 24-year-old had a subdued game against Wales in the second Test in Bloemfontein, which has seemingly put paid to his international prospects for now, despite his known talent.
Davids said they’d rely mostly on their utility backs to fill the right wing void, putting Jesse Kriel, who finished the 2021 end-year tour there, firmly in starting contention.
“Currently, the focus will be on the players that are here in the squad,” Davids said.
“Obviously, at nine, we’ve got Herschel (Jantjies), who has been there and we’ve also got Grant Williams and Cobus Reinach returning, who become possibilities.
“On the wing, you have utility players like Warrick Gelant, Damian Willemse or Jesse Kriel, guys that can fill that void as a result of their versatility.
“At this stage, that’s they way we’re looking at it.”