There is renewed concern over the fitness of Fourie du Preez after the Springbok scrumhalf sat out Tuesday afternoon’s training session at People’s Park in Durban.
Whether or not Du Preez joined the session at a later stage (media were asked to leave after about 20 minutes of the session) is not known, but word from the Springbok camp was the he was in some pain after Monday’s session and that he would continue to be monitored.
Du Preez had been identified as 1 of the players in line to play a part in Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Pumas at Growthpoint Kings Park as he looks to prove his fitness for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Team doctor Craig Roberts had said on Monday he was happy with Du Preez’s performance at training earlier that day, but that how he recovered from the training would be crucial in his availability for the weekend.
Xerox Golden Lions lock Franco Mostert and Steval Pumas scrumhalf Faf de Klerk have been released from the Springbok camp and will be available for their provinces in the ABSA Currie Cup.
Both Mostert and De Klerk joined their provinces late on Tuesday.
In addition, Coenie Oosthuizen, who has not been an official member of the squad, will continue with his rehabilitation away from the camp.
The Vodacom Blue Bulls have signed Saracens loose forward Nick de Jager on a 1-year contract with immediate effect.
De Jager, the former Maties No 8 who left South Africa to join Saracens 2 years ago, has been signed as loose forward cover for the ABSA Currie Cup season and joined the team on Monday to start with his new side.
De Jager is a big, powerful ball carrier and is highly rated, with Saracens releasing him to continue his development in Pretoria and hopefully get some game time ahead of next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The Steval Pumas have made 2 key signings ahead of the start of the Currie Cup competition.
Pumas coach MJ Mentz confirmed that former South African Under 20 prop Marne Coetzee and SA Sevens player Deon Helberg will join the Nelspruit-based outfit for the rest of the season.
Coetzee, a powerful tighthead prop that played SA Schools in 2011 and for the Junior Springboks in 2013, is on loan from the Sharks.
The arrival of the 22-year-old former Glenwood scholar will offset the absence of powerhouse Vincent Koch, who is currently on duty with the Springboks.
Described as a “a strong and powerful scrummager” who is also very good with ball in hand, he is expected to fit right into the Pumas’ exciting style of play.
The Eastern Province Kings’ stuttering build-up to the Currie Cup season had another wobble on Tuesday.
Despite the players’ outstanding salaries having been paid last week, prop Nicolaas ‘Maks’ van Dyk has abruptly ended his short stint in Port Elizabeth and headed back to Bloemfontein.
In a statement on Tuesday Eastern Province Rugby Union President Cheeky Watson confirmed the union and Van Dyk have mutually agreed to part ways.
The front row forward has decided to rejoin the Cheetahs ahead of the Currie Cup season.
The player’s departure comes just days before the Kings host the Golden Lions, 1 of the pre-tournament favourites, in the opening Round of the Currie Cup competition in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Francois Steyn, who is also recovering from a long-term injury, was released from the squad with immediate effect following the death of his brother on Monday morning.
“Frans informed me straight after our morning session on Monday and as soon as he heard the sad and tragic news that his brother had passed away,” said Ian Schwartz, Springbok Team Manager.
“We will not take any decisions on his immediate involvement with the squad – his personal situation is now the most important and we will support him and his family wherever we can in this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Frans and his entire family in this time of mourning.”
Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts was beaming, and for good reason, when he addressed his weekly injury report media conference in Umhlanga Rocks on Monday.
Although a clutch of players are still out injured and there are a few that are unlikely to play before the start of the Rugby World Cup, the experienced duo of skipper Jean de Villiers and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez were joined by the equally influential Willem Alberts in getting safely through what Roberts described as “a great training session” on Monday morning.
“As you know, Jean is a player who took a back seat a bit so that he could get some game time, and the news is good on that front as he looked good in training and should be available for selection for this week’s game,” said Roberts.
“It was also a good work-out for Fourie du Preez. We will obviously monitor how he responds to the training, as we will with Jean, before making a final decision, but he is potentially ready to play against the Pumas this week.
“Willem is also looking good. We’ve been building him up for a while now, and if gets through the training week then he will be ready to play.”
The Springboks face Los Pumas from Argentinia in their final match in this year’s truncated Rugby Championship in Durban on Saturday before travelling to Argentina to play a Rugby World Cup warm-up Test in Buenos Aires. Roberts appears confident that if the aforementioned players can start in Durban.
And the group of available players coming back from injury should be further swollen by young lock Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Wallaby lock Rob Simmons will miss this Saturday’s Rugby Championship decider against the All Blacks and next week’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland – after being ruled out with a scaphoid injury.
Simmons will undergo surgery in Brisbane on Tuesday and is expected to make a full recovery before the Wallabies take on the United States in Chicago next month.
Wallaby coach Michael Cheika said he was “disappointed” to lose the veteran of 52 Tests, but said it would provide great competition for other locks to press their claims for selection.
Argentina arrived in South Africa on Sunday without powerful tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera.
The 26-year-old front row forward has ruptured medial ligaments in his knee and has undergone surgery.
Team doctor Guillermo Botto said Herrera will require between about 4 to 6 weeks to recover, playing him in doubt for the Rugby World Cup – which gets underway on 18 September.
He has been replaced in the 26-man squad – for The Rugby Championship Test against South Africa’s Springboks in Durban on Saturday – by veteran prop Juan Pablo Orlandi, who last played for Los Pumas against England in November 2013.
The 32-year-old Orlandi played in 15 Tests for his country before being axed. He has now been thrown a World Cup lifeline.
Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade said they will continue to “evaluate” players ahead of next month’s World Cup – when they face the Springboks in Durban this week and Buenos Aires a week later.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has made 4 changes to his squad for next weekend’s clash with the All Blacks in Sydney.
Matt Giteau, Wycliff Palu, Henry Speight and the uncapped Toby Smith have come in to the 31-man squad announced on Friday.
Giteau returns after a 1-match layoff with injury, Palu returns to the squad after being rested for the past month and Speight is available for selection again after serving a 5-match suspension.
Their return is timely as the Wallabies prepare for what is effectively a 2015 Rugby Championship ‘Final’, as the men in gold sit locked at the Top of the standings with the New Zealand All Blacks on 9 points, ahead of the final match of the truncated series.
Melbourne Rebels prop Smith is the other new face in the squad, earning his place after a consistent Super Rugby campaign. The 26-year-old enters the squad as the only uncapped player.
The Queensland Rugby Union has secured the signature of Test lock Kane Douglas for the next 3 years, adding further depth to the Reds’ forward stocks.
The 26-year-old is an imposing figure standing at 2.02m tall and weighing 119kg, but also brings with him significant experience, having already played 75 Super Rugby games and 14 Test matches since making the step up to professional rugby in 2010.
Douglas made his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs in 2010 and played his 1st Test for the Wallabies in 2012. In 2014 he made the decision to experience Rugby overseas and moved to Leinster to play in the European Pro 12 competition.
Douglas has returned to Australian shores and said he was looking forward to this next chapter of his life on and off the field.
New Western Force flyhalf Peter Grant says he’s excited to move to Perth where his parents and 2 uncles also live.
The Force on Wednesday officially confirmed the signing of the former Stormers and Springbok flyhalf on a 2-year deal.
Grant, 30, represented the Stormers for 9 seasons and the 5-Test Springbok most recently played a season with French Top 14 club, La Rochelle, having also played 4 seasons with Japanese Top League club, the Kobelco Steelers.
The move to Perth was made easier by Grant’s family connections there.
All Blacks scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow will stay with the Chiefs for the next 2 seasons and has every intention of being 1st choice No 9.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said the 24 year-old has displayed an amazing work ethic recovering from his horrific injury during an All Blacks match late in 2014.
“Tawera is incredibly professional. His dedication to rehab and developing other parts of his game throughout his time out has been impressive. He is in fantastic condition.”
“He is now 1 of our senior players who contributes greatly in our environment. I know he is hungry to get back to top level footy.”
The tenacious scrumhalf has no intention of playing 2nd fiddle to either Brad Weber or Augustine Pulu.
The latest instalment in the Quade Cooper transfer saga has been an exchange of words between the Toulon boss and the Australian coach.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal launched a relatively tasteless tirade against the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and its prized asset Quade Cooper, whom he threatened would end up as “the 2nd most indebted State after Greece”.
The eccentric Frenchman said that the 150 000 Euros that has been mooted as Cooper’s buyout of his contract was in fact for the promise of a contract – Boudjellal claims that Cooper has actually put pen to paper, which would make that void and has allegedly threatened legal action if Cooper does not show up for his medical soon.
Boudjellal told Midi Olympique: “The moron of the Australian federation who does not understand the case needs to know that the promise of employment is no longer the question.”
The Queensland Rugby Union has signed no less than 6 more players to the Reds squad ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
In an effort to continue the restructuring and reviewing of the Reds program – these signings come after a number changes that have already been implemented in the past 2 months, including the appointment of Brad Thorn as Reds elite development squad forwards coach, Damian Marsh as head of athletic performance, the re-signing of Nick Stiles as senior assistant coach and the appointment of Cameron Lillicrap as head physiotherapist.
The announcement is headlined by the signing of 2 promising 21-year-old flyhalves in Jake McIntyre and Sam Greene.
The Reds have also added to the depth in their forward pack by adding prop Pettowa Paraka, hooker Alex Mafi and locks Lukhan Tui and Izack Rodda – all aged 21 or under.
Troubled former All Black Zac Guildford said the Waratahs had offered him a contract for next season, handing yet another lifeline to the bad boy of New Zealand.
Still only 26, Guildford’s career has been blighted by alcohol issues and he walked out of a contract with French Top 14 side Clermont in May – citing “personal reasons”.
Since then, the wing – who scored 6 tries in 10 Tests for the All Blacks – has been playing for his home provincial team Hawke’s Bay.
Guildford said Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson had approached him about joining the Sydney-based Super Rugby side, who lost wings Peter Betham and Taqele Naiyaravoro at the end of the 2015 season.
Guildford and Gibson, himself an All Black, worked together when Gibson was assistant coach at the Crusaders.
The Springboks will be without tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw when they face Argentina’s Los Pumas in Durban next Saturday, but the Springboks could have Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back while at this stage their medical team is optimistic of delivering a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.
De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are 3 of 7 players whose fitness will be assessed on Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation while players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.
Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss the Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk. Saturday’s other injury victims, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.
Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.
Examination of The Rugby Championship table with just 1 Round to go hardly suggests the Springboks may be inching spiritedly toward a prosperous new era.
South Africa lie 3rd, winless, and already out of the running: when they tackle Argentina in Durban in just under a fortnight it will simply be a battle to avoid the wooden spoon as the Wallabies and All Blacks slug it out for title glory a few hours earlier in Sydney.
Fortunately it had been widely accepted by the most astute of rugby observers before the 2015 tournament even began that its bragging rights are of secondary importance this year, given the scheduling just a few weeks shy of the 8th World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Local enthusiasts prepared to prioritise the bigger picture will also be fully aware that the Springboks could so easily be lying at the top of The Rugby Championship pile right now, as they bossed the Wallabies for 50 minutes in Brisbane and then the All Blacks for considerably closer to 70 minutes in Johannesburg on Saturday.
If rugby is a game of inches, then Tevita Kuridrani’s debated, last-gasp try made the critical difference 2 weeks back and Lood de Jager not being able to stretch his lunging arm just a couple of centimetres further against the All Blacks for a 55th-minute Springbok touchdown possibly denied them in the latest instance.
In the final analysis, lack of composure and 1 or 2 errors in tactical decision-making at vital times by a rookie-laden team thwarted them more than anything else on Saturday – it was not as though the Springboks looked light years behind for pure competence and skill in either instance, and that is a firm plus to bank in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup.
Perhaps also, a cranked-up emphasis on conditioning and durability will work wonders over the next couple of months as Heyneke Meyer’s charges get progressively used to the new ball-in-hand culture they are embracing with some gusto and swelling promise.
The Springbok team to face New Zealand’s All Blacks for the 90th time shows 9 changes to the match-23 which did duty against Australia’s Wallabies, for the 2nd match in the condensed Castle Lager Rugby Championship, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Heinrich Brüssow will make his 1st start for the Springboks since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, while Vincent Koch has been included on the bench for what could be his Test debut for South Africa.
JP Pietersen, who was initially picked on the right wing, has since starined his hamstring in training and is replaced on right wing by Cornal Hendricks, with Lionel Mapoe replacing Cornal Hendricks’ place on the bench.
Of the 9 changes, 3 are to the pack, 1 to the backline and 5 are on the bench. The backline is unchanged. Schalk Burger will captain the team from No 8.
Francois Louw will start in the No 7 jersey for the injured Marcell Coetzee in a positional change, with Heinrich Brüssow assuming the openside role (No 6). The only other changes to the starting line-up is at lock, where Lood de Jager takes over from Victor Matfield and on right wing where Cornal Hendricks will do duty.
On the bench, Vincent Koch will be joined by Lionel Mapoe, Trevor Nyakane, Flip van der Merwe and Warren Whiteley, who could make his 1st Test appearance in South Africa, in front of his home crowd in Johannesburg.
The Melbourne Rebels have signed Irish international prop Jamie Hagan for 2 Super Rugby seasons.
Hagan, 28, a tighthead prop who has made more than 100 appearances for Leinster, Connacht and London Irish, made his full international debut for Ireland against the United States of America in 2013.
Hagan becomes only the 2nd fully capped Irish international to sign for an Australian Super Rugby team, after front-rower Peter Clohessy spent the 1997 season with the Reds.
Hagan said he was looking forward to testing himself in the Southern Hemisphere’s renowned provincial competition.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will get more valuable game time on Saturday as his quest to regain full match fitness and book his ticket to the Rugby World Cup continues.
De Villiers will start again for DHL Western Province when they take on the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday after he played 60 minutes in WP’s 19 / 6 loss to the Steval Pumas last Saturday.
WP coach John Dobson confirmed that De Villiers would likely be given an hour once more.
“He’s hinted at playing longer this week but he’s not going to get it,” Dobson joked.
“It’ll be exactly the same – 60 minutes.”
There had been concerns over a calf strain following the Pumas game, but Dobson ensured that De Villiers was fine.
Forwards Morné Mellett, RG Snyman and Deon Stegmann will all report for training on Tuesday, but fullback Jurgen Visser will miss the team’s match against Canon in Japan at the end of the month.
Visser injured a hamstring in training and has been ruled out till 3 August, team doctor Org Strauss confirmed on Monday.
“Jaco Visagie (toe fracture), Morné Mellett (concussion), RG Snyman (calf), Louis Fouché (hamstring) and Deon Stegmann (hip) will all train tomorrow,” Strauss said.
A number of long term injuries are on the mend.
Pierre Schoeman (knee, 15 August), Clyde Davis (medial ligament, 27 July) and Ruan Steenkamp (knee, 15 August) will be back in the next 3 weeks.
The Melbourne Rebels have strengthened their squad for the 2016 season with the signing of lock Culum Retallick from the Blues on a 2 year deal.
Retallick has made nearly 50 Super Rugby appearances since debuting for the Chiefs in 2010, also representing the Blues and Highlanders, where he played alongside future Rebels teammates Tamati Ellison and Adam Thomson.
He has also made close to a century of appearances for Bay of Plenty in the ITM Cup since debuting as a 23 year old in 2008, and joins on a foreign developing player contract.
Retallick said he was excited about challenging himself professionally, and joining a team he has watched develop in recent years.
The United States of America have released former captain Todd Clever from their Pacific Nations Cup squad over “multiple squad conduct violations.”
With the World Cup just 2 months away this less than ideal for the USA Eagles as Clever, who has enjoyed a spell at the Lions in South Africa, is 1 of their most experienced players.
A brief statement from USA on Sunday didn’t elaborate on the violations, although coach Mike Tolkin cited behaviour “contrary to the team culture that players and management have been fostering within the Eagles over time”.
“Clearly, this is not a pleasant or desirable circumstance for either party,” Tolkin said in a press release.
The Springboks have called Flip van der Merwe into their squad but are sweating over the fitness of Victor Matfield and Marcell Coetzee for Saturday’s clash with New Zealand.
Both players were forced to leave the field last Saturday against Australia – Matfield with a hamstring strain and Coetzee with a knock to his knee. According to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts a call on the players’ availability in Johannesburg will only be made later in the week.
“Both are doubtful to play this weekend, but luckily neither of them are in doubt to miss the Rugby World Cup,” said Roberts on Monday.
“Jannie du Plessis and Schalk Burger also picked up knocks in Brisbane on Saturday and we will reassess them at our 1st training session of the week, on Tuesday. Apart from a lot of bumps and bruises, the rest of the squad should be fit for selection.”
The other injured players in the Springbok squad, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts and Frans Steyn are not yet ready to be considered this weekend, Roberts added.
Pieter-Steph du Toit joined the squad in Johannesburg later on Monday and his progress will also be reassessed. With only 3 fit locks left in the squad, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has decided to call up the experienced Van der Merwe.
Wallabies utility back Matt Giteau will miss his team’s clash with Argentina in Mendoza on Saturday due to a sternum injury.
Precautionary scans on his nose and chest yesterday cleared Giteau of any serious damage, after he sustained his injuries in the 24 / 20 victory over South Africa in Brisbane at the weekend, but the Wallaby management have opted to rest the 32-year old for the next stage of the tournament.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika said although Giteau’s absence was a setback to the team, it would be better for him to rest after a tough Test against the Springboks.
“I know how desperate Matthew was to play and continue to contribute to this group over the next week, his leadership and presence off the field will be missed,” Cheika told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.
The Hurricanes have added another scrumhalf to their roster for 2016, signing promising talent Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
The Rotorua-born 20-year-old has been playing his rugby in Taranaki for the past 2 seasons, and has had a successful year in 2015 as part of both the New Zealand Under 20 World Championship-winning side, followed by selection in the New Zealand Barbarians team.
He was also a major player in his Taranaki club rugby side’s winning season, with his form for New Plymouth Old Boys’ helping to secure him an ITM Cup contract with Taranaki for 2015.
Tahuriorangi described the move to the Hurricanes as a massive opportunity, not only for himself, but his family.
The Melbourne Rebels have announced the signing of former Reds and All Blacks back rower, Adam Thomson, for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Thomson will bring a wealth of experience to Melbourne, having made 83 Super Rugby appearances for the Highlanders and Reds as well as winning the 2011 Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks among 31 appearances for his country (29 Tests).
Capable of playing anywhere in the loose forwards, Thomson played alongside compatriot Tamati Ellison for both the Highlanders and All Blacks, while he worked with Rebels’ Assistant Coach Zane Hilton during their time together at Canon Eagles in Japan’s Top League. Thomson is a try-scoring back rower, having crossed 21 times at Super Rugby level.
Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams will not travel to South Africa for Round 2 of The Rugby Championship next weekend.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named a 31-man squad to travel to Johannesburg for the Test against the Springboks on 25 July with Carter and Williams being rested.
“In deciding on the squad to travel to South Africa, the selectors based their selections on 3 criteria,” explained Hansen.
“Firstly, we have picked experienced players who are well aware of the challenge of playing South Africa at home.
“Secondly, we want to give some other players the opportunity to see how they cope under the extreme pressure of playing South Africa and thirdly, we took into consideration the fact that some players in the squad could do with having a break for various reasons, so they will be staying home to freshen up.”
Hansen feels Carter and Williams deserve a break.
“Normally if we had a squad of 31, both of them would be in it and would be coming,” he said.
“Sonny has got bit of a busy schedule so we will let him have some time at home and DC can have some time at home as well – along with the other guys.”
All players who are remaining in New Zealand will be given individual training programmes to work on and will reassemble with the rest of squad in August and be available for selection for the Bledisloe Cup Tests.
Reports suggest that Wallaby star Quade Cooper has pulled out of a big-money move to France.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) is set to confirm the Wallabies playmaker has signed a 4-year deal to remain in the country, opting out of his lucrative contract with glamour French club Toulon, Fairfax Media reported.
The media outlet said an announcement was expected to be made on Monday, confirming Cooper’s re-signing with the ARU, after his Reds team severed ties with him last month amid acrimonious contractual negotiations.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika gave nothing away to reporters on Sunday following his team’s last-gasp 24 / 20 win over South Africa in The Rugby Championship opener in Brisbane the previous night.
But Cheika has reportedly been a significant figure in the ARU’s talks with Cooper and his management and has repeatedly underlined the importance of keeping the skilful flyhalf in Australia.
5 of South Africa’s major stars will join the Barbarians line-up for 2 high-profile games this November.
Flyhalf Pat Lambie, lock Victor Matfield, prop Tendai Mtawarira and centre Jean de Villiers from the current Springbok squad will be joined by veteran forward Bakkies Botha against Gloucester on 17 November and Argentina on 21 November.
The Barbarians, who celebrate their 125th anniversary this year, will name their coach later this month and add further major names to their squad for the games at Kingsholm and Twickenham in due course.
In total, the South Africa quintet will bring 416 caps of international experience to the group. Botha, Matfield and De Villiers were all World Cup winners in France in 2007.
The Steval Pumas were too strong for Western Province at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, walking away with a 19 / 6 victory on Saturday.
The Pumas led by 19 / 3 at halftime thanks to 3 tries and 2 conversions but the hosts fought back strongly in the 2nd half to keep the visitors scoreless.
Currie Cup coach John Dobson was happy with certain aspects of the team’s performance in a match which saw Springbok captain Jean de Villiers start as he continues his comeback to top level rugby from a serious knee injury.
“Given the amount of time we had to prepare, compared to them, I am not disappointed with the performance. The only thing that’s disappointing is that it is Western Province and it’s this field with the occasion and we would have liked to have won the game.
Springbok winger Cornal Hendricks has signed a contract with Western Province Rugby and will be available for the DHL Stormers from the start of the 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The speedster, who originally made his name at international Sevens level, will return to his roots as a DHL Stormers player – having played his early provincial rugby for Boland, before becoming a full-time Sevens player in 2012 and then joining the Free State Cheetahs in 2014.
Hendricks, 27, made his Test debut in June of last year, whilst the 2013 Springbok Sevens Player of the Year was also a key member of the Commonwealth Games Gold medal-winning SA Sevens team in July 2014.
In all, he has played 11 Tests (as well as an additional match against the World XV) for the Springboks, scoring five tries – including a try on debut against Wales and a memorable solo score against the All Blacks in their hard-fought Rugby Championship tussle in Wellington in September 2014.
Flip van der Merwe is 1 South African who might have a point to prove when he takes to the field in a World XV jersey against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday.
The towering lock is not in Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and the coach went on record in May announcing that Van der Merwe was unavailable for international rugby.
After that it was reported that a ‘contract dispute’ may be the reason behind the drama, but Van der Merwe revealed in Cape Town on Thursday that there had been communication issues surrounding his availability.
“I’m not selected, it’s as easy as that,” Van der Merwe, who has been named on the World XV bench for Saturday, said.
Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen said he is feeling positive after undergoing surgery on his neck in Durban on Wednesday.
Vermeulen, the South African Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, will take a few days off to recuperate before starting with his rehabilitation process.
“I’m feeling good and positive and can’t wait to start my rehabilitation,” said Vermeulen.
“All the staff at the hospital made things so easy for me and I would really like to thank them for their effort – I really was in great hands.”
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the national side’s medical team will work tirelessly to get Vermeulen ready to be considered for Rugby World Cup selection.
“Duane is mentally very tough and he is a warrior who has always bled for his country and I’m expecting exactly the same attitude from him towards his rehabilitation,” said Meyer.