Lionel Mapoe back in Springbok squad

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By Ashfak Mohamed

Cape Town – He was surprisingly left out of the home leg of the Rugby Championship squad, but now Lionel Mapoe is back in the Springbok mix.

The hard-running Lions outside centre was recalled to the Bok squad on Tuesday, and will travel to Stellenbosch to join the 20 other players who are participating in a training camp ahead of the end-of-year tour to Europe.

SA Rugby announced on Tuesday afternoon that Mapoe will be an additional midfielder in the group due to Lukhanyo Am’s injury situation.

Sharks star Am broke his arm against the All Blacks in Wellington last month, and was in a race against time to be ready for Tests against England, France, Scotland and Wales in November.

Now the Bok management have stated that Am is “unlikely to be fit” for the England clash on November 3 at Twickenham, as well as the second Test of the tour against France in Paris a week later, but he will go on the trip, ostensibly for the games against Scotland and Wales.

Mapoe was dumped from the squad despite scoring twice against Argentina in Mendoza, at wing, with Jesse Kriel preferred as Am’s back-up by Coach Rassie Erasmus.

Kriel had one of his best Test matches against the All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld, and is the front-runner to wear the No 13 jersey against England.

The Bok training squad have sweated it out in sweltering weather in Stellenbosch this week, and will finish up on Friday before the final tour group is announced on Saturday night after the Currie Cup final between Western Province and the Sharks at Newlands. - IOL

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