Is THIS the 45-man Springbok squad to face the British & Irish Lions?

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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will name his 45-player squad to take on Georgia and the British & Irish Lions on Saturday, 5 June from 18:00.

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With the reigning Rugby World Cup champions having played a grand total of zero Tests since winning the 2019 tournament in Japan over 19 months ago, it’s widely expected Nienaber and Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, will stick largely to the bulk of the squad that lifted the Webb Ellis Cup.

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Of the 33 players who did duty in Japan, 30 are still playing rugby.

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In addition, the Springbok brains trust is expected to select more overseas-based players that normal with those abroad having played more rugby at a higher level than those based in South Africa who have played each other over and over – and over – in more tournaments than one cares to remember.

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That leaves a number of spots available to some exciting youngsters who have put their hands up during the domestic season.

Injuries are part and parcel of the game and have hampered a number of key players which may well result in a number of sleepless nights for Nienaber as he prepares his team for their two warm-up Tests against Georgia and the three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions, starting on 24 July.

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POSSIBLE SPRINGBOK 45-MAN SQUAD:

Fullbacks: Willie le Roux, Damian Willemse, Aphelele Fassi

Wings: Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe, S’bu Nkosi, Rosko Specman, Yaw Penxe

Midfielders: Damian de Allende, Jessie Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, Frans Steyn, Wandisile Simelane

Flyhalves: Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn, Elton Jantjies

Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach, Herschelle Jantjies, Jaden Hendrikse

Loose forwards: Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Jasper Wiese, Jean-Luc du Preez, Dan du Preez, Marco van Staden, Marcell Coetzee

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Locks: RG Snyman, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Franco Mostert, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg

Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx, Scarra Ntubeni, Joseph Dweba

Props: Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Trevor Nyakane, Lizo Gqoboka, Thomas du Toit, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch

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