The group of 43 players feature eight uncapped players – prop Ntuthuko Mchunu, locks Ruan Nortje and Salmaan Moerat, loose forwards Evan Roos and Elrigh Louw, utility forward Deon Fourie, scrumhalf Grant Williams, and fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse.
A squad of 17 players gathered in Pretoria for the opening week of the team’s preparation camp last week, featuring a number of cell C Sharks and Japanese-based players.
With the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers having featured in the semi-finals of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship this weekend, Nienaber has called up 13 players from the two franchises, including fullback Warrick Gelant and loose forward Marcell Coetzee.
The squad also include centre Andre Esterhuizen, who – like Gelant and Coetzee – last played for the Boks in 2019.
Nienaber also selected a strong core of Test regulars in Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Franco Mostert, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Vincent Koch, Trevor Nyakane, Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux and Malcolm Marx.
The remaining players are set to join the squad following their club and franchise commitments. Although not included in the squad, Johan Goosen (flyhalf) will remain with the Boks until of the conclusion of the camp to continue his rehabilitation.
“Building squad depth is one of the key areas for us, and it is great to see the number of young players who have put up their hands this season, and we are delighted to invite them to the national squad environment,” said Nienaber.
“It is also good to welcome back some of the experienced players who have been part of our structures for a few years now, and I’m confident they will slot back into set-up with ease.
“We obviously have to wait a little longer for some players to be released from their club commitments, but we are pleased to be able to announce the squad with exactly three weeks to go before our opening Test against Wales.”
Nienaber added: “We now have a bigger training squad, which will allow us to do a lot more at our training sessions, but most importantly it will give us more time to work with these players as we prepare for a challenging international season.”
Looking forward at the second week of the team’s preparation camp, Nienaber said: “The players laid a solid foundation for us to build from last week, and we are looking forward to taking things up a notch next week.
“Every training session and gym session will count as we look to get our structures well in place for the season ahead and to meet the standards we have set for ourselves by the time the Castle Lager Incoming Series kicks off.”
The Boks will kick off their 2022 season with three Tests against Wales in the Castle Lager Incoming Series on 2, 9 and 16 July respectively, before launching into the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, where they will line up against the All Blacks in back-to-back home Tests, which will be followed by a tour to Australia and Argentina. They will then return home for their final Test against the Pumas in Durban in September.
Props: Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Ntuthuko Mchunu (Cell C Sharks) *, Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92).
Hookers: Joseph Dweba (Bordeaux), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears), Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks).
Locks: Lood de Jager (Sale Sharks), Eben Etzebeth (Toulon), Salmaan Moerat (DHL Stormers) *, Ruan Nortje (Vodacom Bulls) *, Marvin Orie (DHL Stormers).
Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Marcell Coetzee (Vodacom Bulls), Siya Kolisi (Cell C Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Vodacom Bulls) *, Evan Roos (DHL Stormers) *, Kwagga Smith (Yamaha Júbilo), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers).
Utility forwards: Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse), Deon Fourie (DHL Stormers) *, Franco Mostert (Honda Heat).
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks), Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks) *.
Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Montpellier).
Centres: Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (Munster), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles).
Outside Backs: Aphelele Fassi (Cell C Sharks), Warrick Gelant (DHL Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks).
Utility Backs: Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls) *, Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers).
* - denotes uncapped