Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.
Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.
According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.
“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.
“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.
“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”
With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…
BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.
In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.
Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will be sidelined for an extended period with a medial knee ligament injury.
When Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer unveiled a 49-strong squad on Saturday, a paragraph in the official media release revealed that “He suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week”.
More clarity regarding Du Preez’s injury was given in Johannesburg on Monday, where it was determined that the 33-year-old former Loftus-based favourite, now contracted to Suntory Goliath in Japan, will be sidelined for between 4 to 8 weeks.
The other scrumhalves picked in the Springbok squad are Ruan Pienaar, Cobus Reinach, Faf de Klerk and Rudy Paige.
Another serious injury concern is prop Coenie Oosthuizen who had a neck operation today and will miss the Castle Rugby Championship.
The selection of 8 uncapped players and the return of a further 6 are the features of the Springbok squad named on Saturday for the 5 matches leading up to the Rugby World Cup later this season.
In addition to the 36 squad members, the national selectors have identified 13 players who are currently injured or will be in rehabilitation, but will form part of an extended squad for the matches against the World XV, Castle Lager Rugby Championship and the Test against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
The uncapped players in the squad are Scarra Ntubeni, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Rudy Paige, Faf de Klerk, Jesse Kriel, Franco Mostert and Lionel Mapoe.
Back in the Springbok fold after not featuring in any Springbok Tests last year, are Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn, Jaque Fourie, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Heinke van der Merwe.
The currently injured players included in the squad are Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, Lionel Mapoe, Heinrich Brüssow, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Frans Steyn, Coenie Oosthuizen, Lood de Jager, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Jaque Fourie, Jan Serfontein and Fourie du Preez. The latter suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week.
“It’s a long list of injured players but all of them are in the selection frame and we’d like to work with them to assist with their rehabilitation,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
The Springboks will welcome the news that flyhalf Pat Lambie has been declared fit for action.
The Cell C Sharks pivot visited a specialist on Thursday to determine the extent of the neck injury which sidelined him for the past 3 months.
The Sharks on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old was fit to play.
He is expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad on Saturday.
On Saturday Heyneke Meyer will give the 1st indication of which foreign-based players will feature in the World Cup.
Meyer is set to name his squad to play a World XV at Newlands on 11 July – with Jean de Villiers set to make his comeback from injury, most likely off the bench.
But it will also be the 1st opportunity for the foreign-based players to re-introduce themselves to the local lads.
The incumbent Springbok captain, De Villiers, dislocated his patella in the South Africa’s 6 / 12 loss to Wales in Cardiff at the end of November last year and had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery.
If his rehabilitation goes according to schedule, the Springbok captain will play his 1st proper match in 8 months in a Currie Cup warm-up clash for Western Province against the Pumas in Franschoek on 18 July.
Province then travel to Port Elizabeth a week later for another friendly against the EP Kings, where De Villiers is also expected to feature.
However, before that De Villiers is set to play for the Springboks in the World XV clash at Newlands for a few minutes.
There are plenty of South Africans plying their trade overseas and of course some of them could and will be selected in the 31-man squad come Saturday.
However, none of them have featured at the recent Springbok training camps.
Bakkies Botha will be joined by 3 South African Test players and 1 Ex-Sharks player who has formed part of the Springbok squad in the confirmed World XV squad for their match on Saturday 11 July at DHL Newlands in Cape Town against the Springboks.
The World XV squad boasts a combined total of 460 Test caps and represents 6 nations.
Rugby World Cup winning forwards Bakkies Botha (Toulon) and Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse) will be joined by the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ JJ Engelbrecht and Flip Van der Merwe, as well as former Cell C Sharks hooker Craig Burden (Toulon), a Springbok tourist in 2012, in the 23-man squad which will be coached by former Wallaby and Crusaders mentor Robbie Deans.
The match will be the Springboks’ 1st of the 2015 season before a shortened Castle Later Rugby Championship. It will be a stern test for Heyneke Meyer’s team as they start their preparations for the Rugby World Cup later this year in England.
South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins on Wednesday congratulated and thanked the Springbok squad involved in the 1995 Rugby World Cup as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of their epic World Cup final win in Johannesburg.
The Springboks won their 1st Rugby World Cup on 24 June 1995, beating New Zealand, 15 / 12, in a memorable final played at Ellis Park. The result unleashed a tide of goodwill and nation-building across South Africa, which a year earlier had celebrated democracy after decades of racial segregation.
“We proudly celebrate this day as a rugby family, because this team helped Nelson Mandela unite a country,” said Mr Hoskins. “It was a moment that astonished a nation and provided one of the foundation stones for the country we were to become. It was arguably the greatest day in our rugby history.
“Mr Mandela together with that Springbok team pointed the way to a new future for our people and 20 years later that day still has a massive resonance.
“We continue to salute the 1995’ers for what they achieved as a rugby team and what they meant to a nation.”
Mr Hoskins said it was also a day to remember and honour the legacy of the fallen heroes from that day, President Mandela, the Springbok coach Kitch Christie and flanker Ruben Kruger.
Francois Louw is determined to keep hold of his Springbok jersey despite being based overseas in Bath.
Louw is 1 of the overseas-based players expected to make the Springbok squad to be announced later this week. However other contenders for the openside role are the likes of Heinrich Brussow, Marcell Coetzee, Siya Kolisi and Jaco Kriel who have all been in the Super Rugby spotlight this year.
Louw is the incumbent Springbok flank and has been Heyneke Meyer’s 1st choice for some time though he acknowledges the challenge of cracking the Springbok squad from the northern hemisphere.
“When I 1st signed for Bath, I knew it would be more challenging making the Springbok squad. But it was a move I needed to make at that stage of my career as I needed a fresh challenge, on and off the field,” Louw said.
“So when Heyneke Meyer gave me my opportunity in 2012, I was delighted and made the most of it. I’m glad that I’ve been able to play an extended role for South Africa over the years, and I want to continue giving my best to the team.”
New Kobe Steelers’ coach Allister Coetzee has said that Springbok centre Jaque Fourie is available and keen to play for South Africa at the World Cup.
Fourie had previously announced his retirement from international rugby in November 2014 which came as a surprise to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
Coetzee however, in his final Stormers press conference, said that Kobe Steelers’ centre Fourie is keen to play at the World Cup but Springbok lock Andries Bekker is not available.
According to Coetzee the Japanese club have made it clear to SARU that Bekker will not be an option for the Boks.
Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie will see a specialist in Durban on Thursday to determine his availability.
A neck injury saw the Sharks pivot miss the latter half of the Super Rugby competition and there is uncertainty regarding his availability for the Springboks’ 1st game against a World XV at DHL Newlands on 11 July.
“I’m going to see the doctor for a final examination,” Lambie said. “I hope to be fit and available for the World XV match as well as The Rugby Championship.”
Flank Heinrich Brüssow could be a surprise inclusion when Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer names a 40-man squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Despite currently being laid low by an arm injury, Brüssow could be included when Meyer names his squad on Sunday.
Despite being invited to various Bok training camps in recent years, Brüssow has never played a Test under Meyer as coach, with the last of his 20 internationals coming against Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The tide of South Africans heading abroad continues as Marcell Coetzee is one of the latest to ink a deal in Japan, utilising the grace period after the World Cup.
The Springbok will join Honda Heat and feature in the Japanese league from 1 November 2015 to 31 January 2016. The good news for South African fans though is that he will return to Durban after his contract in time the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Honda Heat have also strengthened their side with the signing of Wallaby wing Digby Ioane from the French club Stade Francais.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has no plans to retire after this year’s Rugby World Cup.
De Villiers suffered a horrific knee injury in the Springboks’ final Test against Wales in Cardiff late last year and underwent intensive rehabilitation to recover in time for this year’s World Cup.
He appears to have made a remarkable recovery and on Wednesday confirmed that he would be able to return to the playing field in a month’s time.
The Bok skipper also said he had no intentions of calling it quits after the World Cup.
“I didn’t go through 10 months of rehabilitation just to play 10 more games,” De Villiers was quoted as saying.
The departure shortly from the Stormers of superstar No 8 Duane Vermeulen on a three-year deal to Toulon arguably confirms for the first time a grim reality: an overseas-based group of players would now make up the bulk of a full-strength Springbok team.
Vermeulen is the cherry on top, in many ways, of a fresh wave of once staunchly SA-based players quitting the domestic landscape either following this season’s Super Rugby competition – only the Stormers retain an interest in it – or later in the year after the Currie Cup and RWC 2015 have run their courses.
He is one of the most precious elements of the current Bok mix, and if you consider him foreign-based henceforth – along with several other seasoned internationals on their bikes imminently – then it is quite feasible to argue that the cream of coach Heyneke Meyer’s intended first-choice Test XV will suddenly be drawn from foreign climes.
Before, it was just a sprinkling, with men like France-based Bryan Habana, English-stationed Francois Louw and JP Pietersen from Japan bolstering a Bok side still made up very strongly of “home” elements.
But that trend is set for a pretty violent change.
Jnr Springboks (6) 20 / 28 (18) England (Final Score)
The South African Junior Springboks and England Under 20 did battle in a semi-final in the World Rugby Under
20 Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 19:30 BST, 18:30 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
Other matches – Fixtures & Results:
Australia 31 / 21 Scotland (Final Score)
New Zealand 45 / 7 France (Final Score)
Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron made 2 changes to his match-23 for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship semi-final against defending champions England on Monday evening in Calvisano, Italy.
DHL Western Province flank Rikus Bothma takes over the No 6 jersey from his provincial team mate Jacques Vermeulen, while Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings) replaces Grant Hermanus (DHL WP) on the bench.
The rest of the match squad who defeated Australia in Calvisano last Wednesday, were kept unchanged.
Theron said the changes are part of the team’s rotational policy.
Jnr Springboks (20) 46 / 13 (3) Australia U 20 (Final Score)
The South African Junior Springboks and Australia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under 20
Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
Springbok talisman Fourie du Preez will have at least 1 competitive game before he joins the Springbok side again – for his Japanese club Suntory Goliath.
Du Preez said he will head back to Japan in the next 2 weeks to rejoin the pre-season training camp for the club and has requested that he play at least 1 competitive game before heading to the Springbok camp next month.
The veteran scrumhalf, who is still rated as 1 of the best in the world, has not played for the past 3 months since the Japanese season ended and his club were ousted in the Cup competition.
He has had discussions with the Springbok management on the issue and they are happy for him to follow the route, the same one he has over the last 2 seasons before donning the green and gold again.
On both occasions Du Preez returned sharp and in form, and made a significant difference to the Bok set-up with his experience and vision on the field.
Could Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer possibly return to the Vodacom Bulls after this year’s Rugby World Cup?
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has not yet offered Meyer an extension of his contract beyond the current Rugby World Cup.
While talks are ongoing at SARU about Meyer’s future, it is understood the Vodacom Bulls would be happy to return him and his management team to Loftus Versfeld if he doesn’t continue as Springbok coach.
The future of current Bulls coach, Frans Ludeke, appears uncertain after the men from Pretoria again failed to reach the Super Rugby playoffs.
Ludeke has a contract with the Bulls until October 2016, but there are rumours he could be relieved of his coaching duties, while there is also talk of Ludeke being promoted to Director of Rugby.
Springbok lock Bakkies Botha, who announced his retirement from international rugby late last year, will head up a strong group of Test icons for the match between South Africa and a World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday 11 July 2015.
Botha is 1 of 9 Toulon players who will line up against the Springboks. The giants from the south of France recently won their 3rd consecutive European club title.
Toulon coach Bernard Laporte, who was previously in charge of the French national team, will assist former Wallaby and Crusaders coach Robbie Deans with the World XV.
Botha’s Toulon team-mates who have been confirmed for the World XV are Delon Armitage (fullback), David Smith (wing), Rudi Wulf (centre), Maxime Mermoz (centre), Steffon Armitage (loose forward), Ali Williams (lock), Craig Burden (hooker) and Alexandre Menini (prop).
Added to this list are Springbok and Vodacom Bulls centre JJ Engelbrecht, Wallaby scrumhalf Luke Burgess and France scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud. The World XV will be captained by Louis-Benoit Madaule, who plays on the flank for French club Bordeaux Begles.
DHL Western Province centre EW Viljoen will earn a 1st starting berth for the Junior Springboks against Australia on Wednesday evening in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship Pool B decider in Calvisano, Italy.
He replaces Vodacom Blue Bulls centre JT Jackson, who played in the previous Championship outings against Italy and Samoa. Jackson drops out of the match-23.
Viljoen, who will anchor the midfield with provincial partner Daniel du Plessis, is 1 of 2 backline changes to the team that faced Samoa.
His WP team-mate Khanyo Ngcukana, who played against Italy in the opening match, reclaims his place in the starting-15 in place of Grant Hermanus on the right wing.
WP flank Jacques Vermeulen, who started 4 matches for the Junior Springboks in New Zealand last year and who came off the bench last Saturday, will start in the No 6 jersey. He switches places with Dan du Preez, who has been named among the replacements.
Dawie Theron, the Junior Springbok coach, said his team is well-prepared for the game.
Toulon boss Mourad Boudjellal took aim at the Stade Bordeaux spectators for showing “disrespect” to 1 of the game’s greatest players.
Stade Français stunned triple European champions Toulon 33 / 16 last Friday to reach the French Top 14 Final.
Led by the irrepressible Italian back row forward Sergio Parisse, Stade scored tries through flanks Rapahel Lakafia and Antoine Bourban, before a freak late score from wing Julien Arias gave a flattering skew to the final score – as they reached their 1st Final since defeating Clermont 23 / 18 in 2007.
It was a sad end for a number of veteran stalwarts, whose club careers ended with this defeat – including South Africa’s Bakkies Botha, along with Ali Williams and Carl Hayman of New Zealand.
Outgoing Toulon coach Bernard Laporte took aim at the players, for a lack of commitment, but the club President, Boudjellal, turned anger on the spectators.
Junior Springboks (21) 40 / 8 (3) Samoa (Final Score)
South Africa Under 20 and Samoa Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby
Under 20 Championship at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma at 18:30 SA Time (18:30 Italy Time, 16:30 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 5 on TV in SA.
The new ASICS-designed and manufactured Springbok jersey for the Rugby World Cup was launched at a glittering event in Cape Town on Thursday, with the 100 day mark to the start of the global showpiece fast approaching.
The launch of the iconic jersey is the culmination of months of hard work by scientists at the ASICS Institute of Sport Science in Kobe, Japan, in collaboration with the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Jean de Villiers, Tendai Mtawarira, Eben Etzebeth, Bismarck du Plessis, Duane Vermeulen, Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Pat Lambie took part in an extensive testing programme in Japan to fine tune the final product. They were accompanied by Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and other members of the management team.
The main aims in the design of the Springboks’ apparel were to reduce weight without compromising on strength. The jersey for the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be the lightest ever worn by South Africa, at 70 grams lighter than any previous jersey.
It also has smooth surface making it harder than ever before to keep hold of in the tackle, while an area which has seen significant development after player insight is the Super-Grip silicone which features on the chest of the jersey.
There is a method to the apparent ‘madness’ of Heyneke Meyer’s approach to the Springboks’ 2015 World Cup campaign.
Spending some time with the Bok mentor at a training camp in Cape Town this week, it became abundantly clear just how much preparation has already gone into South Africa’s campaign.
In fact the Bok coach even investigated the hotel beds the players will encounter during their stay in England in September and October – prompting media banter that the ‘Bok coach is sleeping on the job’.
However, even the massive 40-odd players at the 2 training camps – in Johannesburg last month and Cape Town this week – are part of a carefully orchestrated plan to ensure the Boks have the best possible chance of becoming the 1st country to win the Webb Ellis Cup for a 3rd time.
Meyer said the large squads are all part of his long-term plan, with a lot of the younger players that he can take forward.
Hello fellas & flatties,
This Pool was opened POST HASTE, as I nearly forgot to do it.
Here are the details of our latest SuperBru Pool, but I’ve left it rather late, so please hurry joining up and doing your first picks, the TOURNAMENT starts TODAY!
Pool Name: Rugby-Talk JWC 2015
Pool Code: examrags
Remember, as per usual, the Pool is open to all REGISTERED Rugby-Talkers, so if you are not subscribed yet, do so and enjoy the Pool with us!
But grant me the opportunity to also explain why you need to do it quickly and at the same time excuse my oversight for only doing it now… let me tell you the story!
Duane Vermeulen’s reported move to France appears all the more likely after the Springbok and Stormers No 8 rejected a contract offer from the South African Rugby Union (SARU).
Vermeulen would have been the highest earning Springbok had he accepted SARU’s offer.
His decision to reject the offer from SARU adds fire to reports earlier this year that linked him with a move to French club Toulon.
Andries Bekker’s Springbok future appears to be in the hands of his Japanese club, the Kobelco Steelers.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Tuesday had a 1-on-1 with the tall lock to gauge his interest in and suitability to returning to green-and-gold duty this year.
Bekker, 31, had made himself unavailable for Springbok selection when he moved to Japan in 2013.
The Junior Springboks came through with a clean bill of health on Wednesday after completing their post-match medical and conditioning examinations following their 33 / 5 win over hosts Italy on Tuesday at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Calvisano.
Apart from a few bumps and bruises, the match squad who did duty against the Italians completed the game without injury. Lock RG Snyman (pictured), however, suffered a cut above the eyebrow in the 1st half and played on after receiving the necessary medical attention.
On Wednesday the Junior Boks had recovery sessions, which included a gym session for the non-playing squad members and the customary massages for those who were in action in the opening match. Later on the squad analysed their performance in a lengthy video session.
Loose forward Warren Whiteley says there’s plenty of excitement in the Springbok squad following the team’s training camp in Cape Town.
The national squad gathered here this week for their 2nd training camp of the year.
While there were plenty of familiar faces running through the drills, head coach Heyneke Meyer called up several new players, who have shown great form during Super Rugby this season.
Whiteley, who made his Test debut for South Africa last year, enjoyed the experience.
“It’s always a massive honour and great experience being part of the national squad,” Whiteley said.
“One gets to catch up with the guys after months of Super Rugby, and start the preparations for what will be an exciting year ahead, including The Rugby Championship and World Cup.
“The World Cup is a massive occasion, which every player wants to be part of. So you can imagine the excitement among the players, especially guys like Cheslin Kolbe and Faf de Klerk, who have shown great form this season and I’m glad they’ve received reward for their hard work.
Italy (5) 5 / 33 (21) Springboks (Final Score)
Italy Under 20 and South Africa Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under
20 Chamionship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano, Italy at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.
It was announced yesterday that Willie le Roux has signed for the Cell C Sharks for the 2016 season of Super Rugby, after agreeing to a deal that the Cheetahs were reportedly unable to match. Le Roux will play a short stint in Japan after the World Cup but will join the Sharks after.
Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron stuck mainly to the combinations that earned him a 2 – 0 series win in Argentina as he announced his team to start against Italy on Tuesday.
No 8 Hanro Liebenberg will lead out a Junior Springbok match-23 sprinkled with several players who also took part in last year’s event in New Zealand, where they lost by a single point against defending champions England.
Sharks prop Thomas du Toit will anchor the scrum and is 1 of the players that will participate in his 2nd successive tournament, as well as lock Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls) and Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks). Another survivor from last year, Joseph Dweba (hooker, Cheetahs), will play off the bench.
Theron opted for a strong forward pack while the backline has a settled look.
Warrick Gelant is also returning for his 2nd tournament in a row and the Springbok Sevens international starts in the No 15 jersey. Much is expected of the centre pairing of JT Jackson (Blue Bulls) and Daniel du Plessis (Western Province), in particular.
Two of the most experienced coaches in world rugby, Robbie Deans of New Zealand and France’s Bernard Laporte, will take charge of a star-studded World XV for their match against the Springboks at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday, July 11.
Deans was in charge of a Barbarians team that beat an Ireland XV, 22 / 21, in Limerick, Ireland on Thursday night and who were hammered by 73 / 12 by an England XV side on Sunday at Twickenham.
The DHL Newlands clash will be the Springboks’ season-opener and it promises to deliver festival rugby. Last year in the corresponding fixture, more than 30,000 spectators flocked to DHL Newlands to see the South Africans beat a strong World XV by 47 / 13, with Heyneke Meyer’s side scoring 6 tries in the process.
“Between them, Robbie and Bernard are 2 of the most experienced coaches in world rugby since the game turned professional 2 decades ago,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of the South African Rugby Union (SARU).