Rugby World Cup: Springboks include injured skipper Siya Kolisi in squad for France

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi has been included in the squad for next month's Rugby World Cup, but other key players have been left out because of injury, including influential first-five Handre Pollard and World Cup-winning centre Lukhanyo Am.

Kolisi had major knee surgery in April, but South Africa are confident he will be fit in time for their first pool game against Scotland at Marseille on September 11 (NZ time).

There are 12 World Cup debutants, but the 'Boks have kept the bulk of the side that won the tournament in Japan four years ago.

Am, who twisted his knee in a warm-up test against Argentina on Sunday, and Pollard, who has a long-running calf injury, were among the notable omissions, when the squad was unveiled at an elaborate televised ceremony.

Also out is Lood de Jager, the giant lock who was part of the team four years ago. He has an unspecific chest complaint.

"There were some tough decisions that had to be made," coach Jacques Nienaber said.

Am, De Jager and Pollard have been placed on standby with six other players, and Nienaber says he hopes they may return to full training before the start of the tournament and be available in the event of injury to others.

"We still have two warm-up games left, and a road to travel to build player combinations and fine tune the areas of our game that we feel we need to improve on, so we are by no means the final product at this stage," Nienaber added.

Lukhanyo Am in action.
Lukhanyo Am in action. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kolisi is expected to play in one of the two warm-up internationals that the 'Boks will play over the next fortnight - against Wales at Cardiff on August 20 and the All Blacks at Twickenham on August 26 - as he looks to prove his fitness.

He heads a list of players who compete at a third World Cup tournament. Props Frans Malherbe and Trevor Nyakane, lock Eben Etzebeth, loose forwards Pieter-Steph du Toit and Duane Vermeulen, and centres Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel are the others.

South Africa play in Pool B at the World Cup, where they also meet Romania, Ireland and Tonga.

South Africa World Cup squad:

Backs: Damian de Allende, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Faf de Klerk, Andre Esterhuizen, Jaden Hendrikse, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Manie Libbok, Makazole Mapimpi, Canan Moodie, Cobus Reinach, Damian Willemse, Grant Williams

Forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Deon Fourie, Steven Kitshoff, Jean Kleyn, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese


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