Tonight's rugby news as Springboks left stranded after Wales game and Gatland gambles on complete rookie

South Africa's players won't be home until Tuesday
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire)

Here are the latest rugby headlines on Monday, June 24.

Springboks stranded after Wales match

The South African squad faced a setback after taking on Wales at Twickenham when their flight home was cancelled.

The squad were due to fly from London to Johannesburg on Sunday night, but have instead flown back this afternoon following the cancellation.

They will now arrive back in South Africa early on Tuesday morning, leading head coach Rassie Erasmus to delay his squad announcement for their upcoming Test series against Ireland.

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He had planned to name the squad either on Sunday night or today, but will now make the announcement tomorrow.

Despite his side running in five tries at Twickenham, Erasmus said the clash with Wales was “tough” for his side and identified where they could improve before facing Ireland and Portugal this summer.

“It was a tough match, as it always is against Wales, he said. “I thought our scrums went well, but we didn’t dominate the collisions. We also conceded a try, but we scored five and we could have scored more, but those are things we need to work on going forward.

“It was a beneficial game for us because some players were not eligible for selection and a guy like Jasper Wiese is still out, while some of the Japanese players haven’t played in a while. But the young guys stepped up to the plate and played really well.”

Regan Grace makes Wales tour

By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent

Former rugby league star Regan Grace has been named in Wales' 34-strong squad to tour Australia.

Grace, who has only played two senior games of union for his club Bath, recently linked up with Wales' training group after Ospreys wing Keelan Giles suffered a groin injury and was ruled out of the three-match trip.

Grace, who scored 89 tries for St Helens during a league career that saw him feature in three Grand Final-winning teams, is under contract with Bath until the end of next season.

He switched codes in 2022 but ruptured his Achilles tendon ahead of joining French Top 14 club Racing 92 and he did not feature for them at all after suffering an injury relapse six months later.

The 27-year-old then linked up with Bath to continue his rehabilitation and he played in friendlies earlier this year against Leinster and Gloucester as he returned to full fitness.

Wales assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys has described Grace as an "X-factor" player and he will now travel Down Under, with Wales facing Tests against Australia in Sydney on July 6 and Melbourne seven days later, followed by an appointment with Queensland Reds.

Grace is among three uncapped players in the tour party, being joined by Gloucester back Josh Hathaway and Cardiff hooker Efan Daniel.

Injuries have hit Wales boss Warren Gatland's plans, with Giles, hooker Elliot Dee and flanker Jac Morgan having been ruled out before Saturday's Twickenham clash against South Africa that the Springboks won 41-13.

And Gatland has now lost tighthead props Keiron Assiratti and Henry Thomas, with Assiratti suffering a back problem during the Springboks encounter and Thomas missing that game because of a foot injury after originally being selected to start.

Bath's Archie Griffin, Dillon Lewis and Harri O'Connor will fill the tour berths in that position, while hooker Dewi Lake, who led Wales against South Africa, will be tour captain.

Lake has been chosen for the role ahead of Six Nations skipper Dafydd Jenkins, who was among a sizeable contingent of England-based players unavailable to face the Springboks as that fixture fell outside World Rugby's summer Test window.

Squad: Backs - E Bevan (Cardiff), G Davies (Scarlets), K Hardy (Scarlets), S Costelow (Scarlets), M Grady (Cardiff), E James (Scarlets), B Thomas (Cardiff), N Tompkins (Saracens), O Watkin (Ospreys), R Dyer (Dragons), R Grace (Bath), J Hathaway (Gloucester), L Williams (Kubota Spears), J Beetham (Cardiff), C Winnett (Cardiff).

Forwards - C Domachowski (Cardiff), K Mathias (Scarlets), G Thomas (Ospreys), E Daniel (Cardiff), D Lake (Ospreys, capt), E Lloyd (Cardiff), A Griffin (Bath), D Lewis (Harlequins), H O'Connor (Scarlets), B Carter (Dragons), C Hill (Secom Rugguts), D Jenkins (Exeter), M Screech (Dragons), C Tshiunza (Exeter), J Botham (Cardiff), M Martin (Cardiff), T Plumtree (Scarlets), T Reffell (Leicester), A Wainwright (Dragons).

New All Blacks captain named

Scott Barrett will captain New Zealand in their two-Test series against England as Scott Robertson named his first squad as All Blacks head coach.

Barrett has been chosen ahead of 2023 world player of the year Ardie Savea on the strength of his time playing under Robertson at the Crusaders, who won seven successive Super Rugby titles with the duo present.

The 30-year-old second row will be assisted by Savea and his younger brother Jordie Barrett following their selection as vice-captains.

"There are some great leaders in our group, but having that existing connection to Scott was important," said Robertson, who appointed Barrett as Crusaders skipper in 2020.

"He's tactically astute, he leads from the front and he's got the respect of the players and coaches.

"Leadership is a shared responsibility and Ardie, Jordie and our wider leadership group will be crucial to how we come together and connect ahead of the first Test against England."

New Zealand are missing several mainstays of recent years with Richie Mo'unga, Brodie Retallick and Shannon Frizell playing in Japan.

Aaron Smith announced his international retirement after last autumn's World Cup while Sam Whitelock, the All Blacks' most-capped player with 153 appearances, hung up his boots after the Barbarians' victory over Fiji on Sunday.

Sam Cane led New Zealand at France 2023 - he was sent off in the defeat by South Africa in the final - but he is unavailable because of a back injury. Wing Will Jordan is out with a shoulder issue.

Five uncapped players - hooker George Bell, prop Pasilio Tosi, back row Wallace Sititi, scrum-half Cortez Ratima and centre Billy Proctor - have been chosen in the 32-man squad to face England in Dunedin on Saturday week and at Auckland's Eden Park seven days later.

"It's a proud moment for them and their families. They've earned their places through performance and consistency and it's an exciting time in their careers," Robertson said.

"As coaches, we will get them ready so they can take their opportunity when it comes."