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Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am miss out on selection

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Fly-half Handre Pollard and center Lukhanyo Am have been excluded from South Africa’s 33-man Rugby World Cup roster due to injury. These two players were key starters in the team’s World Cup victory over England in 2019.

Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber described the selection process as one of the most challenging ones they’ve faced, acknowledging the difficulty of omitting certain players. Captain Siya Kolisi, despite not having played since April due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, has been included in the squad.

Injuries have impacted the final selection, leading to the exclusion of some deserving individuals, according to Nienaber. Lood de Jager, who has been dealing with a chest issue, is also missing from the squad, but he, along with Pollard and Am, has been placed on a six-man standby list.

South Africa’s title defense begins with a match against Scotland on September 10th. Pollard, who last played for the Springboks in August of the previous year, suffered a calf injury while playing for Leicester in the Premiership semi-final against Sale.

Handre Pollard and Lukhanyo Am miss out on selection

Although fly-half Manie Libbok, with only seven caps, is the lone specialist fly-half in the squad, he has impressed in the Rugby Championship. Utility back Damian Willemse, 25, is another option for the fly-half position.

Am’s knee injury sustained during a Springboks victory over Argentina has also ruled him out of the squad. Harlequins center Andre Esterhuizen has been named as his replacement. De Jager, who was part of the 2019 World Cup-winning team, was withdrawn due to illness and will not participate in the 2023 edition.

Munster lock Jean Kleyn, who represented Ireland in the 2019 World Cup, is part of the squad after recently making his Springboks debut in the Rugby Championship.

Head coach Nienaber has chosen four scrum-halves: Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Cobus Reinach, and Grant Williams. Winger Canan Moodie, 20, has also secured a spot in the final squad.

The Springboks’ second pool game is against Romania on September 17, followed by matches against Ireland and Tonga.

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