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Springboks Recall Koch, Include Uncapped Nel For Tests

South Africa recalled prop Vincent Koch and included uncapped centre Ruhan Nel Sunday in a 30-man squad for home Rugby Championship Tests against Australia and New Zealand.

Tighthead Koch, 28, plays for English Premiership club Saracens and won the last of nine Springbok caps in 2015.

Nel, 27, has starred for Western Province in the Currie Cup and while his preferred position is centre, he can also operate at full-back and on the wing.

His call-up was unexpected with coach Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus saying: “Ruhan comes with a lot of international experience with the Blitzboks (national sevens team).

“He has performed consistently well for Western Province so it will be good to see how he operates in the Bok environment.”

Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Full-back Willie le Roux from English outfit Wasps was a surprise inclusion after initially being unavailable for the final two Tests of the Championship season.

Four of the matchday 23 that stunned world champions New Zealand 36-34 in Wellington last weekend are missing.

Injuries rule out centres Lukhanyo Am and Damian de Allende, flanker Francois Louw is back at English club Bath and scrum-half Ross Cronje has been dropped.

South Africa play Australia in Port Elizabeth on September 29 and New Zealand in Pretoria on October 6.

Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

New Zealand top the Championship standings with 16 points, South Africa have 10, Argentina eight and Australia five with two rounds left.

South Africa squad

Forwards (16)

Schalk Brits, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi (capt), Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Warren Whiteley

Backs (14)

Aphiwe Dyantyi, Andre Esterhuizen, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Ruhan Nel, Sibusiso Nkosi, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard, Willie le Roux, Damian Willemse, Ivan van Zyl

Coach: Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus (RSA)

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© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.