Springboks call in cover for England & Baabaas

The Springboks have called up three players to strengthen their squad ahead of the match next week against England at Twickenham and the Barbarians the following week.

Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane, Bulls hooker Bandise Maku (pictured)and Sharks scrumhalf Charl MacLeod have been added to the group taking the squad back to its orginal number of 30.

It is not entirely clear how the Springboks have been able to replace the two players who were suspended after they tested positive for banned substances as it was revealed earlier in the week that as they were suspended the Springboks would not be able to call for replacements.

Hooker Maku replaces Chiliboy Ralepelle and Ndungane comes in for Bryan Habana who broke his hand.

MacLeod has been added to the group as the Boks only had two scrumhalves after they opted not to replace Ricky Januarie when the Western Province man was injured in the Currie Cup final.

The Boks were reminded on Thursday of the risks of having only two scrumhalves when Francois Hougaard was confined to bed for the day with what the team management described as a ‘sniffle’.

MacLeod may well have been added to the squad had he not been injured himself in the domestic final and was thus unavailable at the time to replace Januarie.

The condition of Hougaard is considered not serious, and he is expected to play on Saturday, but the presence of the in-form MacLeod should at least allow the coach to sleep a bit better at night.

Along with flyhalf Patrick Lambie, MacLeod was a key figure in the Sharks’ success, and his addition to the squad does introduce the intriguing possibility of the Boks adopting the Sharks’ possession/momentum-orientated approach in the Twickenham matches, particularly the one against the Barbarians.

Maku (24) and Ndungane (29) have both made one appearance for the Springboks this season – in June – while McLeod (27) gets to wear the Springbok colours for the first time.

“I considered calling them in this week but with all the other disruptions I thought it would be better to focus as much as we could on what is a very important test against Scotland,” said De Villiers.

“We can start afresh on Monday morning at the start of what will be a new test week.”

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