Springboks release 10 players before matchday with Lions

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British and Irish Lions’ hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie (centre) scores a try during the rugby union tour match between Stormers and the British and Irish Lions at The Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town on July 17. AFP

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber has released 10 players from his squad ahead of the three Tests against the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town, starting on Saturday.

That leaves 37 Springboks – the matchday 23 announced on Tuesday for the first Test plus 14 others who will watch the first Test from the stand.

Veteran loose forward Duane Vermeulen is not in either the retained or released lists with Springboks spokesman Rayaan Adriaanse saying “he is currently undergoing rehabilitation with the Bulls”.

A key figure in the 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning team, Vermeulen had ankle surgery after being injured in a domestic match.

Vermeulen is one of five World Cup winners not in the revised squad. Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira, Schalk Brits and Francois Louw have retired and Warrick Gelant is injured.

“The fact that most of the players participated in the Rugby World Cup means they know one another well on and off the field,” said Nienaber.

“As coaches we know what they have to offer having worked with most of them for several years,” said the successor to World Cup-winning coach Rassie Erasmus, who has returned to his national rugby director role.

Revised Springbok squad

Backs: Damian de Allende, Lukhanyo Am, Aphelele Fassi, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Makazole Mapimpi, Sibusiso Nkosi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Willie le Roux, Francois Steyn, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse

Forwards: Joseph Dweba, Rynhardt Elstadt, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi (captain), Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Jasper Wiese

Released

Backs: Sanele Nohamba, Yaw Penxe, Wandisile Simelane, Rosko Specman

Forwards: Lizo Gqoboka, Fez Mbatha, Scarra Ntubeni, Coenie Oosthuizen, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez.