Scotland South Africans

Kyle Steyn and Duhan van der Merwe celebrate a try for Scotland. Photo: Via Scottish Rugby.

Rugby World Cup: FOUR South Africans make Scotland squad

There are the four South Africans that will look to derail the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup.

Scotland South Africans

Kyle Steyn and Duhan van der Merwe celebrate a try for Scotland. Photo: Via Scottish Rugby.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has selected a quartet from South Africa in his 33-man squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

The South African foursome — props WP Nel and Pierre Schoeman and wings Duhan van der Merwe and Kyle Steyn — all made the cut when the squad was announced on Wednesday morning.

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It is particularly good news for van der Merwe — brother of capped Springbok Akker — who was at risk of missing out on selection due to an injury he sustained in the Test against France over the weekend. But the speedster’s inclusion means the extent of the injury is not as severe as initially feared.

Their inclusion in the Scottish squad means the South African quartet will come up against the Springboks in what will be both teams’ opening game of the Rugby World Cup on Sunday, 10 September.

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Captain Jamie Ritchie leads a selection comprising 19 forwards and 14 backs for a Pool B campaign that will see Scotland face South Africa, Tonga, Romania and Ireland.

Flanker Ritchie is one of 15 players to have appeared at a previous Rugby World Cup, with second rows Richie Gray and Grant Gilchrist, tighthead prop Nel, as well as stand-off Finn Russell, all set for a third such tournament experience. Back-row forward Jack Dempsey represented Australia in Japan four years ago.

The others to have featured at a Rugby World Cup, all in 2019, include forwards Zander Fagerson, (tighthead prop), George Turner (hooker), Scott Cummings (second row) and Hamish Watson (flanker); and backs Darcy Graham (wing), Chris Harris (centre), Blair Kinghorn (full-back), George Horne and Ali Price (both scrum-half).

Gray, one of seven players named with more than 50 Scotland appearances, is the most-capped member of the squad on 75, with veteran Nel the eldest at a still sprightly 37 years old.

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At the other end of the experience spectrum, full-back Ollie Smith is the youngest in the squad having recently turned 23, with stand-off Ben Healy the least-capped with two.

The other players preparing for their Rugby World Cup debut are forwards Ewan Ashman, Dave Cherry (both hooker), Jamie Bhatti, Schoeman, Rory Sutherland (all loosehead prop), Javan Sebastian (tighthead prop), Sam Skinner (second row) and back-row trio Luke Crosbie, Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson.

Scrum-half Ben White, centres Huw Jones, Cameron Redpath and Sione Tuipulotu, and wingers Van der Merwe and Steyn complete the selection.

The 33-strong group contains 14 players each from Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, with four Exiles (Harris, Redpath, Russell and White) and Rory Sutherland, unattached since recently leaving Ulster Rugby.


Scotland RWC squad
The Scotland squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Scottish Rugby.