SALE SHARKS stars will look to take a bite out of the Lions after FIVE of their players were named in the South Africa squad.
World Cup winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk as well as the giant Du Preez twins, Dan and Jean-Luc, are all heading home to play for the Springboks in this summer's three-Test series.
Lock Lood de Jager and prop Coenie Oosthuizen are also in the 46-man squad – as is Leicester Tigers no.8 Jasper Wiese and Saracens prop Vincent Koch.
After bringing back the Du Preez brother's for the first time in three years, 2019 World Cup winning boss Rassie Erasmus said: "We now have some strong Du Preez brothers in the mix.
"The twins have been unlucky recently not to make it due to the quality of forwards.
"But the nice thing about the Sale Sharks set-up, playing with Faf and their gameplan with him at no.9, the Du Preez's brothers also jump together in the line-up – so we are very chuffed with what is going on at Sale.
"It's terrible to lose the players abroad, but when you lose them to a set-up like that – well done to Sale and them.
"Several players have been plying their trade abroad, and that has enabled them to rack up quality game time in top class competitions against world class opposition, many of whom were included in the Lions squad."
In total 30 of Erasmus' reigning champs that blasted past runners-up England in Yokohama are in.
But fearsome no.8 Duane Vermeulen could be out of the series already as he heads for scans on an injured ankle – which is likely to open the door for Premiership stars Dan du Preez and Wiese.
Erasmus added: "We are fearing the worst. We expected some big losses and I think Duane is going to be one of them."
After more than 500 days without a game due to covid, Boks head coach Jacques Nienaber said: “It is a surreal feeling to name a Springbok squad after such a long absence from international rugby.
"And the fact that these players will have a chance to measure themselves in such a special tour makes it even more remarkable.
“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 Tests against the passionate Georgian team will be tough. They are very physical, and their passion shows in their performances, and this is the kind of preparation we need going into the Castle Lager Lions Series.”
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