On Saturday 2nd of July, the three-Test series between South Africa and Wales will be begin in Pretoria. However, ahead this opening clash it’s been revealed that a number of hot prospect players who had been tipped to take part, are unfortunately set to miss out on the action.
This is according to reports that Boks’ coach Jacques Nienaber hasn’t selected brothers Vincent and Emmanuel Tshituka and Madosh Tambwe, citing unresolved issues with their citizenship.
While all these highly rated young players now live and ply their trade on the pitches in South Africa, they were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The eligibility problems have disappointed both the players and fans alike, as Vincent Tshituka and Madosh Tambwe have had particularly strong respective seasons. The former being a shining star in the back row of an otherwise struggling Lions team, while the latter has been exceptional on the wing this season for Bulls.
Speaking about the situation, Jacques Nienaber was quoted as saying: “He [Tambwe] is not a SA citizen. Until he gets citizenship he is not eligible. The same with the Tshituka brothers. There is a lot of speculation about them. They need to get citizenship. I know the Tshitukas are busy with a process, I’m not sure if Madosh is.”
Tambwe had assumed he was eligible to play for South Africa, having been previously questioned in May of this year stating: “Yes, last time I checked. I’ve been travelling with the team I don’t know what more will make or deem me South African.”
A frustrated Vincent Tshituka offered similar comments: ““We have applied for SA citizenship. It will be a bit of a waiting game, but we are doing everything we can to try to fast-track that process. When it comes to these matters it is not in our hands. Hopefully things work out.”
A positive result still expected for South Africa
Despite the disappointing fact that the rugby world won’t get to see these three making what are sure to be exciting debuts just yet, South Africa are still strong favourites ahead of the upcoming Tests.
Wales’ recent poor run of form, including their humiliating fifth place finish in the Six Nations, means they have only a handful of wins in the last year. Whereas the Boks will be boosted by the fact many of their expected starting XV will be coming from sides that proved dominant in this year’s United Rugby Championship.
As such, any victories across the three Tests for Wayne Pivac’s side would certainly be a huge surprise.