The Springboks squad for the upcoming Castle Lager Rugby Championship mini-series against New Zealand has been confirmed, with two veterans returning to an expanded 41-man squad.

Ulster loose forward Duane Vermeulen and Cheetahs utility back Frans Steyn are back in the national fold after being ruled out of the Wales in-bound tour through injuries, with Vermeulen having undergone knee surgery while Steyn suffered a hamstring injury.

“We are pleased with the enthusiasm and attitude the new players showed in the squad during the Castle Lager Incoming Series, and we feel that this group well worked together throughout the campaign and that we have good cover in all positions, so we opted to keep the majority of the group together for the home leg of Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign,” commented coach Jacques Nienaber.

“Duane and Frans are both very experienced players and they each have valuable traits that they bring to the field of play, so we are excited to welcome them into the fold. This will offer the coaches and medical staff a good opportunity to determine where they are in terms of their rugby.”

Departing from the camp is Cheslyn Kolbe, who suffered a broken jaw in the final test against the Welsh and is ruled out until September, Aphelele Fassi, Marcell Coetzee and Cobus Reinach.

“It is disappointing for Aphelele and Marcell, but we were limited in how many players we could select. That said, we know what both of them can do on the field and we have a big picture in mind with the Rugby World Cup next year,” Nienaber added.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on them at their provinces as well as all the other players on our radar that were not selected in this group.”

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