CAPE TOWN: South Africa have included veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn in their 46-man squad to face the British & Irish Lions next month, a return to the side for the player who kicked the Springboks to a series win when the teams last met in 2009.
Steyn, 36, who won the last of his 66 caps in 2016, is the third flyhalf in the squad along with Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies, as the Boks retained 30 of the 33 players from their 2019 Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan, the last time they played an international.
Prop Tendai Mtawarira, hooker Schalk Brits and loose-forward Francois Louw have retired, but there are a number of uncapped players in hooker Joseph Dweba, lock Nico Janse van Rensburg, scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba, and the uncapped back quartet of Wandisile Simelane, Aphelele Fassi, Yaw Penxe and Rosko Specman.
"Players such as Frans (Steyn) and Morne have been here before and they can attest to the huge privilege it is to be part of a British & Irish Lions tour, so I am very excited for this squad," new Bok coach Jacques Nienaber said in a media release from South African Rugby on Saturday.
"The squad feature a bunch of Rugby World Cup-winners who know what it takes to perform and be successful at the highest level, as well as a handful of very talented young players who all proved that they deserve an opportunity at this level.
"A huge challenge lies ahead, and the fact that we will be taking on this task after a 20-month absence from international rugby means we need to hit the ground running."
The expanded squad will first be in action in two warm-up tests against Georgia on July 2 and 9, before they face the Lions on three consecutive Saturdays from July 24.
The South Africa 'A' side to face the tourists on July 14 will also be selected from this squad.
Thomas du Toit (Sharks, 12 caps, 0 pts)
Steven Kitshoff (Stormers, 47 caps, 5 pts)
Vincent Koch (Saracens, 21 caps, 0 pts)
Frans Malherbe (Stormers, 38 caps, 5 pts)
Ox Nche (Cell Sharks, 1 cap, 0 pts)
Trevor Nyakane (Bulls, 42 caps, 5 pts)
Coenie Oosthuizen (Sale Sharks, 30 caps, 20 pts)
Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux-Bègles, uncapped)
Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears, 33 caps, 25 pts)
Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers, 36 caps, 35 pts)
Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers, 1 cap, 0 pts)
Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks, 45 caps, 25 pts)
Eben Etzebeth (Toulon, 85 caps, 15 pts)
Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg (Montpellier, uncapped)
Franco Mostert (Honda Heat, 39 caps, 5 pts)
Marvin Orie (Stormers, 3 caps, 0 pts)
RG Snyman (Munster, 23 caps, 5 pts)
Dan du Preez (Sale Sharks, 4 caps, 0 pts)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers, 55 caps, 25 pts)
Siya Kolisi (Sharks, 50 caps, 30 pts)
Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo, 6 caps, 0 pts)
Marco van Staden (Bulls, 3 caps, 0 pts)
Duane Vermeulen (Bulls, 54 caps, 15 pts)
Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers, uncapped)
Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks, 13 caps, 10 pts)
Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, 2 caps, 0 pts)
Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, 30 caps, 20 pts)
Herschel Jantjies (Stormers, 10 caps, 20 pts)
Sanele Nohamba (Sharks, uncapped)
Cobus Reinach (Montpellier, 14 caps, 30 pts)
Elton Jantjies (Pau, 37 caps, 281 pts)
Handre Pollard (Montpellier, 48 caps 457 pts)
Morne Steyn (Bulls, 66 caps, 736 pts)
Lukhanyo Am (Sharks, 15 caps, 15 pts)
Damian de Allende (Munster, 47 caps, 30 pts)
Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles, 46 caps, 60 pts)
Wandisile Simelane (Lions, uncapped)
Frans Steyn (Cheetahs, 67 caps, 141 pts)
Aphelele Fassi (Sharks, uncapped)
Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, 14 caps, 40 pts)
Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, 61 caps, 60 pts)
Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks, 14 caps, 70 pts)
Sbu Nkosi (Sharks, 11 caps, 40 pts)
Yaw Penxe (Sharks, uncapped)
Rosko Specman (Cheetahs, uncapped)
Damian Willemse (Stormers, 6 caps, 5 pts)
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)