Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa named uncapped Curwin Bosch, Warrick Gelant and Daniel du Preez in a 34-man squad Saturday for a Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Port Elizabeth this month.
But coach Allister Coetzee must do without first-choice Springboks skipper Warren Whiteley, who is recovering from a groin injury sustained in a 3-0 June series victory over France.
Abrasive lock Eben Etzebeth got rave media reviews after standing in as captain in the final win over the French and is likely to continue in that role.
Bosch, who can perform at fly-half or full-back, starred for Coastal Sharks in Super Rugby this season, finishing as the second-highest points scorer with 140.
The 20-year-old missed the France series because it clashed with the Under-20 World Cup in Georgia.
Northern Bulls full-back Gelant has recovered from a lengthy injury absence to impress as an attacker from deep positions.
Daniel du Preez, the son of former Springboks scrum-half Robert, joins brother and fellow loose forward Jean-Luc in the squad for the August 19 Test at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
“I always said it must be difficult for a player to force himself into the squad,” noted South Africa coach Allister Coetzee.
“So I am really pleased that, through their performances, they have earned selection to the Springbok group.”
Prop Ruan Dreyer, part of the Golden Lions team beaten by the Canterbury Crusaders in the Super Rugby final Saturday, is the lone starter from the final win over France to miss out.
Only seven Lions were selected with winger Ruan Combrinck a surprise omission having recovered from a serious injury.
France-based back Francois Steyn, a replacement in the 35-12 victory over the French in Johannesburg, was not considered to allow him concentrate on pre-season training.
Injury-prone Bulls fly-half Handre Pollard was chosen afer being unavailable for the June series.
Apart from Tests against Argentina in Port Elizabeth and Salta on successive weekends, South Africa play world champions New Zealand and Australia home and away in the Championship.
“The next six contests will be completely different to what we faced against France in June,” warned Coetzee.
“We will have to work even harder to meet these tough challenges against the Pumas, Wallabies and All Blacks.
“Thorough preparations will once again be crucial to our Rugby Championship campaign.”
South Africa squad
Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Pieter-Steph du Toit (all Western Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Daniel du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Chiliboy Ralepelle (all Coastal Sharks), Lizo Gqoboka, Lood de Jager, Trevor Nyakane (all Northern Bulls), Jaco Kriel, Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert (all Golden Lions), Uzair Cassiem, Oupa Mohoje (both Central Cheetahs)
Warrick Gelant, Jesse Kriel, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Jan Serfontein (all Bulls), Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Courtnall Skosan (all Lions), Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds (both Stormers), Raymond Rhule, Francois Venter (both Cheetahs), Curwin Bosch (Sharks), Francois Hougaard (Worcester/ENG)
Coach: Allister Coetzee