Who is the latest Springbok newcomer Celimpilo Gumede?

Earlier this week, the Springboks interestingly revealed that Bulls star Celimpilo Gumede (loose forward) had been called up to the national training camp currently under way on the eve of the 2024 Test season.

The squad initially did not include any Bulls players who were still involved in the URC, but the Pretoria franchise ultimately agreed to release the uncapped Gumede, who attended the last Springbok alignment camp.

It’s a massive show of faith in Gumede, who has regularly shown glimpses of his potential this past season.

Standing 1.92m tall and weighing in at over 100kg, Gumede boasts impressive physical attributes, but has also coupled this with effective mobility.

Offering an option at No 8 and blindside flank, the Springbok coaches have clearly seen something special in the youngster who has come through SA Rugby's Elite Player Development programme.

Originally from Zululand, where he attended Umfolozi Primary, Gumede has followed an interesting road on the way to his latest Springbok call-up.

After spending some time at the Nuwe Republiek school in Vryheid, he then headed to Durban where he completed his high school career at DHS and also represented Durban Collegians at junior club rugby level.

At school level, he played in the U16 Grant Khomo Week, U17 Interprovincial Sevens and the U18 Craven Week, while he gained back-to-back SA Schools selection in 2017 and 2018, and the following year represented the Junior Springboks.

With his talent clear to see, his senior career began at the Sharks, where he first earned his stripes in the Currie Cup.

Yet it’s really at the Bulls where his career has taken off, having joined the Pretoria franchise from the coast in July of 2023, and making his debut against Namibia in a friendly.

He has gone on to make several competitive appearances across the United Rugby Championship and Champions Cup competitions, with his versatility offering adding extra value to his all-round offering as a dynamic ball carrier.

Celimpilo Gumede has caught the eye of the Springbok coaches

"Celimpilo has been playing impressive rugby this season and we are excited to see how he integrates in the squad and what he has to offer at training," said Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to the Bulls for allowing him to join us at short notice, especially at such an important point of their URC season."

The loose forward has committed his future to the Bulls

Earlier this year it was confirmed that he had signed a new contract at the Bulls, which will see him play out of Loftus until June 2028.

"I had no doubt (in my mind) that I wanted to accept the offer because I have been in a good space since arriving in Pretoria and being with the Bulls family,” he commented. “There is a lot that comes with it, good culture, and good people outside of rugby, for me it has been a huge blessing and opportunity to be with this team. I am really happy and I look forward to the future."