Scotland (3) 16 / 34 (20) Springboks (Final Score)
Scotland and the South African Springboks did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at
St James’ Park, Newcastle at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
Jannie du Plessis is telling the story of the day the Springboks decided to change their entire lineout book in the build-up to Saturday’s World Cup match with Scotland.
The tighthead prop, with 66 caps packed into his near-33 years, bows his head and laughs.
“It was Monday. Black Monday,” he explains.
“Our forwards coach came in and said, ‘OK, on the weekend Scotland will have Josh Strauss and WP Nel in their team. We respect them as rugby players and we respect their ability to understand lineout calls in Afrikaans. So we’re changing our calls.’
“We said, ‘What? All of them?’ Our coach said, ‘Yes, every one. We start today.’ There was more than 1 sigh of frustration in that room, I can tell you. We were saying, ‘No! How am I going to learn all of this in a week!’ Maybe it’s a blessing. We made so many mistakes with the old ones. Maybe we needed to change anyway.”
Fourie du Preez will become the Springboks’ 56th Test captain when he leads South Africa against Scotland on Saturday at the Rugby World Cup.
South Africa face Scotland in a must-win Pool B encounter at the Rugby World Cup St James’ Park in Newcastle on Saturday.
Du Preez made a massive impact upon his return in the match against Samoa last weekend and has been entrusted with the captaincy in the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers (fracture jaw, retired from the international stage) and Victor Matfield, who has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
Schalk Burger is the vice-captain.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer made only 3 changes to the starting line-up for Saturday’s match – 2 of them injury-enforced.
Jesse Kriel will link up again with Damian De Allende in the midfield, in the place of Jean de Villiers, while Lodewyk de Jager takes over from Victor Matfield at lock.
The 3rd change is a rotational switch at hooker – where Bismarck du Plessis returns in the place of Adriaan Strauss, who will move to the bench.
Also amongst the replacements are Pieter-Steph du Toit, Willem Alberts and Jan Serfontein, who provides cover as both centres picked up injuries last week.
Springbok midfielder Jan Serfontein was sitting at home watching the England vs Wales Rugby World Cup clash this past weekend when his phone rang, changing his life altogether.
Serfontein got a call from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer telling him to ready himself for a trip to join the national team in the wake of Jean de Villiers’ injury.
Arriving late on Monday Serfontein joined the Springbok camp and depending on the injury report may well have to play this coming weekend against Scotland at St James’ Park in the Pool B showdown.
“I was surprised to get the call,” Serfontein admitted, “I was watching the Wales-England game and I got a call from coach Heyneke saying that Jean is injured and that he was considering picking me and he would only confirm it on Sunday.
“I couldn’t sleep the night and got the news on Sunday, but I’m happy to be here now and will do everything I can to contribute.”
Jean de Villiers successfully completed the 1irst step on his return to playing.
He underwent surgery on his broken jaw in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The Springbok captain was forced out of the Rugby World Cup, following an impact to his jaw in the match against Samoa last Saturday.
The 109-Test centre plans to continue playing, although he announced his international retirement following his exit.
“Jean had surgery in Cape Town this morning and the operation went well,” said Springbok team doctor, Craig Roberts.
“The fractured jaw was plated and his wisdom teeth were removed.”
De Villiers is currently recuperating at home and a decision on returning to England to support the Springbok team will be made in due course.
It is said that time is a great healer, but in Heyneke Meyer’s case it will also be a great revealer.
The Springbok coach has decided to delay his team announcement by 7 hours on Wednesday as he needs more time to resolve the all-important matter of who will wear the captain’s armband in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup clash against Pool B pace-setters Scotland at St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Instead of an 11:00 SA Time (10:00 UK Time) announcement, Meyer will now name his matchday-23 at 19:00 SA Time (18:00 UK Time) on Wednesday evening.
At the heart of the delay is a plethora of injuries which have a direct bearing on the captaincy appointment. Victor Matfield is the obvious choice to replace the injured Jean de Villiers as the captain at world rugby’s showpiece, but the 38-year-old lock has a hamstring strain which he suffered in the 2nd half against Samoa last weekend.
As a result of the lengthy injury list, the Springboks forfeited Monday’s training session as several players were nursing an assortment of niggles. Matfield will have to prove his fitness at Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s training before the Springboks’ medical staff make a call on his availability.
With the Rugby World Cup match against Samoa being called “brutal” by Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, Jean de Villiers is heading home and out of the Rugby World Cup with a fractured jaw, while a long list of injuries will be assessed on Monday by the team doctor as the team start to prepare for their showdown with Scotland.
Prop Jannie du Plessis (knee), midfielders Damian de Allende (knee) and Jesse Kriel (laceration to the eye), lock Victor Matfield and scrumhalf Fourie du Preez all are on the injury list.
Depending on how they heal overnight, they should all hopefully be declared fit for the Scottish game.
South Africa’s convincing win against Samoa on Saturday evening, to put their Rugby World Cup path back on track after the shock loss to Japan the week before has come at a considerable cost, with the news that Captain Jean de Villiers has broken the other side of his jaw and will therefore head home back to South Africa and out of the tournament.
As a result of the injury, Jean de Villiers has subsequently announced his retirement from Test rugby.
The silver lining for Jean is the fact that the last time he was injured against Samoa in the Rugby World Cup of 2007, South Africa went on to win the prized title.
Jean de Villiers’ tournament ending injury:
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has been ruled out of the remainder of the Rugby World Cup after suffering a fracture to his jaw.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer described this latest injury to De Villiers as a massive setback.
Jan Serfontein has been called up and will join the squad in Newcastle on Monday. An announcement on the captaincy for the match against Scotland will be made on Wednesday.
Springboks (17) 46 / 6 (6) Samoa (Final Score)
The South African Springboks and Samoa did battle in the 2015 Rugby World Cup at
Villa Park, Birmingham, England at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT, Sunday 05:45 Samoan Time).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
Japan (10) 34 / 32 (12) Springboks (Final Score)
Japan and the South African Springboks did battle in the Rugby World Cup at
The Brighton Community Stadium, Brighton at 17:45 SA Time (16:45 BST, 15:45 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 on TV in SA.
Mastery of scrums, line drives and the breakdown will win the Rugby World Cup, South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said after his 31-man squad arrived in England for the tournament on Saturday.
“These are 3 areas that will determine the outcome of the tournament and we have spent a lot of time working on them,” Meyer said.
Meyer also said winning the Rugby World Cup, which South Africa achieved in 1995 and 2007, would require playing “7 cup finals” over the next 2 months.
“All the opponents will be difficult and you have to approach each game as if it were a final. The challenge is to play 7 great games in a row.”
The Springboks, who are based on the South Coast of England in the little hamlet of Eastbourne, start their campaign next Saturday against Japan at Brighton in Pool B, with the coach suggesting it was an opportunity to give game time to players who have been working their way back to fitness after injury.
SARU President, Oregan Hoskins has hit back against attacks and critisism from factions and political party game play against the racial make-up of the Springbok rugby squad who will represent South Africa at the Rugby World Cup, which runs from 18 September to 31 October in England.
This follows a High Court Application, later abandoned, by the ANA (Agenda for… wait what are they called again… Agents for New Agenda party) as well as fierce critisism by Cosatu and former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers regarding the amount of players of colour in theSpringbok setup.
A lot of critisism can and has been levelled over the years against Oregan Hoskins and his “Bunch of merry misfits” at SARU for the way South African rugby is run and administered.
Here’s what Hoskins syas in his letter:
Springbok lock Victor Matfield will join the Northampton Saints on a 1-year deal at the end of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Matfield, who at the age of 38 captained the Springboks earlier this year against Australia and Argentina, will join up with the British club for a swansong to end his career after the Springboks conclude their Rugby World Cup commitments.
He has been released from his coaching contract by mutual agreement by the Blue Bulls Company, after requesting a release earlier this week.
South Africa’s most capped Springbok and Rugby World Cup squad member, Matfield, is widely seen as possibly the greatest lock ever to play the game, and has been capped 123 times for the Springboks as he heads into his 4th Rugby World Cup.
The High Court bid to stop the Springboks from competing in the Rugby World Cup was merely meant to draw attention to the need for transformation, the man behind it said on Wednesday.
“The move was tactical. We managed to draw the attention of this country and of the Courts to the need for transformation,” the leader of the Agency for New Agenda (ANA) party, Tshidiso Mokhoanatse, told reporters in Pretoria.
The intention was to move the responsibility for transformation in sport away from the South African Rugby Union and government, to the Courts. He said he had succeeded in this.
He was speaking after he abandoned his bid for an order seeking to prevent the Springboks from going to England and Wales to compete in the World Cup, which starts on 18 September.
Judge Ntendeya Mavundla stood the matter down in the High Court in Pretoria earlier.
The man trying to stop the Springboks from leaving South Africa needs to find a lawyer, a judge cautioned him on Wednesday, as he is jumping into waters where there are “fish that bite”.
“You may find that you are traversing an area which is like a pond on the surface. It looks calm, but underneath the waters flow with tremendous force, if you are not familiar with that terrain,” Judge Ntendeya Mavundla cautioned Tshidiso Mokhoanatse.
He was referring to the debate about transformation in sport, and society in general.
The leader of the Agency for New Agenda party was about to jump into the deep end and tackle the case on his own, when Mavundla advised him it would be best to get a “scuba diver” to help him.
Mavundla stood the matter down until 14:00 SA Time for a lawyer from the Bar Council or Law Society to help him.
The South African Springboks squad, to take on the world’s best in England, at the 2015 Rugby World Cup was officially announced at 18:00 SA Time (16:00 GMT), live on SuperSport 1 on TV in South Africa.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is on a hiding to nothing, no matter which squad he would have selected, whether it be from lobbyists saying that there are not enough players of colour in the side OR whether he is accused of player bias OR choosing old favourites… OR not choosing players on merit.
I urge everybody to accept his selection prerogatives, even though you or me would have done it differently, and to get behind this Springbok side for the Rugby World Cup, where they will be representing their country to the best of their abilities.
The “Ghost Squad” has already been discussed ad-nauseam, the announced squad is exactly the same and feature the inclusion of fringe players like Zane Kirchner, Rudy Paige, Siya Kolisi and Morné Steyn.
Injured or previously injured players like Fourie du Preez, Jean de Villiers, Duane Vermeulen, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jannie du Plessis is also be included in the squad.
A number of players are hugely unlucky not to be selected, they include Heinrich Brüssow, Steven Kitshoff, Marcel van der Merwe, Vincent Koch, Marcell Coetzee, Jan Serfontein, Frans Steyn, Cornal Hendricks, Cobus Reinach and Francois Hougaard.
Here is the Springbok Rugby World Cup squad for 2015, which is now official:
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.
Experienced loose forward Schalk Burger will become the 55th Springbok captain on Saturday when he leads South Africa out against New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.
The 32-year-old Burger has been named interim captain, in the absence of the injured Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield. He assumes the captaincy from Matfield, who was ruled out of action in the short term after suffering a hamstring strain against Australia’s Wallabies on Saturday.
“Schalk has been a magnificent servant of Springbok rugby and he fully deserves this responsibility,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Tuesday.
“The resilience he’s shown in coming back from serious injury and illness is the kind of qualities I look for in players as well as teams I coach.
“In my eyes, the captaincy is very important and something I never take lightly or want to cheapen. Schalk’s character and the fact that he has been a role model for so many through the years made this an easy decision.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will announce an interim captain for South Africa on Tuesday.
Even though there’s been no formal confirmation, the fact that a media briefing has been scheduled to name an ‘interim’ captain confirms that current stand-in captain Victor Matfield will not play against New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
Matfield, who suffered a hamstring injury in the 1st half of last week’s 20 / 24 loss to Australia’s Wallabies in Brisbane, was standing in for the injured captain Jean de Villiers.
And Meyer has made it very clear that De Villiers won’t be considered this week.
So who are the candidates in the current Springbok squad?
The front-runners, surely, are Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Ruan Pienaar, Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss – with Bryan Habana, Patrick Lambie and Warren Whiteley at long-odds.
If you really want to stir the pot, why not throw Flip van der Merwe’s name in there – seeing as he is now ‘available’ again.
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.
Schalk Burger is back in the Springboks’ starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against the Australian Wallabies at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Burger’s inclusion at No 8, after a great performance as replacement against the World XV last weekend in Cape Town, is 1 of 5 changes to the Springboks’ match-23 for this match.
The other 4 changes are on the bench, where props Heinke van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe, as well as Lood de Jager (lock) and Lwazi Mvovo (wing) have been included.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said the changes were all part of the plan to rotate players in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.
“We’re expecting a massive contest for the ball on the ground on Saturday and with Schalk there next to Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee, as well as Bismarck du Plessis, we’ve got a lot of players who are very good at the breakdowns,” he said.
“Warren Whiteley played very well last weekend, but he knows exactly where he stands and will play again for the Boks this season. For this match though, we decided to go with this specific loose trio.
“I’ve said last week that we will make changes, but it’s also important to keep some form of momentum. Saturday’s match is going to be massive in the context of our season and we have to ensure we tick the right boxes.
“It will be good to see what Heinke, Frans, Lood and Lwazi can do from the bench, while we’ve also opted to keep continuity in the starting team. There will most likely be changes for every match this season as we keep one eye on the World Cup.
The Springbok selectors on Sunday finalised the squad of 31 players that will travel to Brisbane for the opening match of The Rugby Championship, next Saturday at the Suncorp Stadium against the Wallabies.
The touring squad consists of 22 players who did duty against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
The only member of the match-day squad to stay behind in South Africa is Jean de Villiers, who has been released to DHL Western Province to get game time in their ABSA Currie Cup warm-up matches in the next fortnight.
The players who did not feature against the World XV, but will travel to Brisbane, are Lionel Mapoe, Lwazi Mvovo, Rudy Paige, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn, Schalk Brits, Lood de Jager, Frans Malherbe and Heinke van der Merwe.
The Springboks got their year off to a winning start on Saturday with 46 / 10 victory over a star-studded World XV at Newlands in Cape Town.
In ice-cold conditions, close to those expected at the World Cup later this year, the Springboks outscored their visitors by 7 tries to 1 – including 3 for fullback Willie le Roux – but Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will take the result with a pinch of salt, since most of the players in this World XV side have been on holiday for a month, and it showed.
There was some positive feedback in terms of the home team’s ability to create scoring opportunities, which bodes well for their chances in The Rugby Championship that kicks off next weekend, but they were never really given the defensive examination Meyer had hoped for, apart from a short period when they were force to defend with 13 men.
The Springboks’ inability to hold onto the ball for long periods was, however, a concern as they spent a disproportionate amount of the game in their own half.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Jean de Villiers, who made his long-awaited return from injury on the hour mark before providing the pass that put Le Roux over for his hat-trick.
Springboks (22) 46 / 10 (10) World XV (Final Score)
The South African Springboks and World XV did battle in an International match at
DHL Newlands, Cape Town at 17:00 SA Time (15:00 GMT).
This was the live match discussion Article.
The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.
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.
The Minister of Sport has appealed to corporate South Africa to throw their weight behind the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup campaign in a public message.
Mr Fikile Mbalula asked South Africa’s employers – large and small – to join their workforce in supporting the campaign to wear their Springbok jerseys on BokFridays – starting tomorrow.
“It’s that time of year again where we have to wear our green and gold to support our national pride; the Springboks,” he said.
“Corporate South Africa, black green or yellow, Rainbow Nation, unite behind the Springboks and show your support by wearing the green the gold like me; the Springboks No 1 supporter.”
The Minister’s appeal came on the eve of the Springboks’ 1st match of the season – against a World XV at DHL Newlands on Saturday – and marks the countdown in earnest to the Rugby World Cup kick off in England on 18 September.
Fans have been asked to share the gees by wearing their officially licensed Springbok jerseys on the 11 Fridays between tomorrow and the big kick off.
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.
Jean de Villiers will make an inspirational comeback to top-level rugby from the bench for the Springboks, almost 8 months after suffering a horrific knee injury, when they take on the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Victor Matfield will captain the Springboks, with Warren Whiteley making his 1st start in the Green and Gold at No 8, while 2 uncapped players, Jesse Kriel and Vincent Koch, have been included in the match-23.
If De Villiers makes an appearance it will be his 1st rugby since suffering a dislocated knee and ligament damage in the final match of 2014, against Wales in Cardiff.
De Villiers has gone through more than 7 months of rigorous rehabilitation and is now completing a remarkable recovery.
“Jean is a massive asset to South African rugby and it’s wonderful to know his return to play is progressing so well that we can give him some game time from the bench on Saturday,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“The mere fact that he is back in shape and ready to play is testament to his incredible work-ethic and his professional approach to the game. Jean has really put in hours and hours of extra work to get here and he is a great example for any player on how to put yourself in the best possible position to recover.
“We will still manage how he is used against the World XV and afterwards we’d like him to return to Western Province, where he will be available for their ABSA Currie Cup warm-ups.”
Meyer said the decision to hand the captaincy to Victor Matfield for the time being was not a difficult one. Ruan Pienaar has been given the Vice-captaincy.
Just a couple of days after being declared fully fit and available for the Springboks, Pat Lambie was back in hospital.
Fortunately for Lambie, the news this time around was nowhere near as serious as the neck injury that ruled him out of the remainder of Super Rugby in April.
Still, Lambie was taken straight to hospital from Cape Town Stadium after he picked up a knock to the head that left a cut.
Talented young Vodacom Bulls utility back Jessie Kriel looks set to be the 1st player to be given an opportunity to wear the problematic Springbok No 13 jersey at the start of the international season building up to the Rugby World Cup.
Kriel played most of his Super Rugby season at fullback, but he has played a lot of his rugby at outside centre.
The former SA under 20 star switched with regular captain Jean de Villiers in joining Stormers star Damian de Allende in the Bok shadow team’s midfield during the open training session at Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
De Villiers is unlikely to start the match as it will be his 1st appearance on the playing field since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery after being struck down by injury in the final Test of 2014 against Wales in Cardiff.
So Kriel, who did most of the training in that position on Monday, can be considered a near certainty to make his debut in the season pipe-opener.
Obviously Springbok assistant coach Johan van Graan was not in a position to divulge whether the team that trained was the team that will play when he was questioned by media following the training session, but he didn’t contain his excitement at what Kriel could bring to the position if he does play.
Bakkies Botha says that he is not waiting for a phone call from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer as preparations for the Rugby World Cup in September continue.
Botha, who has just ended a 4-year stint in France with Toulon, says that he was aware of the speculation linking him with a surprise call-up to the Springbok World Cup squad but firmly denied his participation in the tournament.
On Tuesday last week, Meyer was quoted as saying on SuperSport’s Boots & All that Botha had popped into the Springboks training session and was “in good shape”. Meyer confirmed he’d asked Botha to “stay in shape” in case he was required for duty in England in September and October.
“Definitely not,” Botha, who is in Cape Town with the World XV preparing for Saturday’s clash against the Springboks, said however.
“There was speculation that I need to keep the door open for the World Cup. There were a lot of people who said that I have another World Cup in me and I truly believe I do have.
“But I think I called it a day because I know that my last game was when I came from the bench against England at Twickenham (the Springboks won 31 / 28 in November 2014) and I think that peace of mind, that inner peace in me, was the main reason I set a date to retire.
Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup after it was revealed that he has to undergo surgery on a neck injury, but national skipper Jean de Villiers has been cleared to return to the game this weekend.
De Villiers, who had a full knee reconstruction towards the end of 2014, is 1 of 6 injured players who were given the all clear from the Springbok medical team to be considered for selection against the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday. The others are Pat Lambie, Cobus Reinach, Lionel Mapoe, Schalk Burger and Lood de Jager.
Although Jan Serfontein (hip and knee) is recovering well from his injury, he will not be considered for selection this week. Furthermore, Scarra Ntubeni and Faf de Klerk are over their ankle niggles from late last week and took full part in training on Monday, while Heinrich Brüssow (broken arm) has recovered well, but is still a week or 2 away from playing.
“Our medical team worked very hard on the injured players and it’s a great positive to see the guys return,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday.
Springbok No 8 and South Africa’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, Duane Vermeulen, is in a race against time to be fit for the Rugby World Cup following a diagnosis that he will require surgery on a neck injury.
The 29-year-old Vermeulen, who was also the SARPA Players’ Player of the Year and the Vodacom Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2014, consulted a specialist in Durban on the recommendation of the Springbok medical team.
The need for surgery was identified to give him the best possible chance to recover in time for the global rugby showpiece in England in September and October. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday.
A niggling hip flexor injury may have kept Springbok centre Jan Serfontein sidelined for parts of the Super Rugby season, but he is hopeful to soon stake a claim for a place in this year’s Rugby World Cup squad.
“Injuries have been a bit of a setback for me this year, but I’m on my way back. Maybe the fitness is a bit down, but it’s something you can work on, on your own,” Serfontein said at the Springbok camp in Johannesburg this week.
“I’m just hoping to get some game time for the World XV and in The Rugby Championship coming up.