British and Irish Lions in South Africa: Five Sale players in Springboks squad

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Five of Sale’s Premiership title-chasing side have been named in South Africa’s preliminary 46-man squad to face the British and Irish Lions.

Rugby World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager are joined by forwards Coenie Oostheuizen, and Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez.Leicester back row Jasper Wiese is one of eight uncapped players included.

Munster duo RG Snyman and Damian de Allende and Saracens prop Vincent Koch also make the cut.Fly-half Morne Steyn, who sealed South Africa’s victory over the Lions in the 2009 series with a last-minute penalty in the second Test, returns after more than four-and-half years’ absence from Test rugby.

Steyn, who turns 37 two weeks before the first Test, is joined in the squad by 34-year-old centre Frans Steyn, who played in all three Tests in 2009.

Lions’ tour schedule
The Springboks have a significant injury concern however, with number eight Duane Vermeulen having picked up an ankle injury while playing for the Bulls in the Rainbow Cup on Friday.

South Africa director of rugby Rassie Erasmus described Vermeulen’s injury as a “big worry” with the 34-year-old back row set to have further scans on the injury on Monday.

South Africa, who have not played international rugby since lifting the Rugby World Cup in November 2019 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will warm up for the Lions with two Tests against Georgia.

The South Africa ‘A’ team who play the Lions on 14 July will be drawn from the 46-strong group, with the Springbok management then reducing the size of the squad for the Test series.

South Africa preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions tour
Forwards: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), Coenie Oosthuizen (Sale Sharks), Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux-Bègles), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Scarra Ntubeni (DHL Stormers), Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Toulon), Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Montpellier), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat), Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers), RG Snyman (Munster), Dan du Preez (Sale Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers), Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse)

Backs: Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Sanele Nohamba (Cell C Sharks), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Elton Jantjies (Pau), Handre Pollard (Montpellier), Morne Steyn (Vodacom Bulls), Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Munster), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Wandisile Simelane (Emirates Lions), Frans Steyn (Toyota Cheetahs), Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks), Yaw Penxe (Cell C Sharks), Rosko Specman (Toyota Cheetahs), Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).