With less than two weeks to go before South Africa take on Italy in Durban, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he can’t wait for the Castle Lager Incoming Series to start.
The second Springbok training camp concluded in unusual cold and wet weather in Durban on Tuesday morning. Apart from the three field sessions, the invited players also did a lot of preparation work in the team room, with focus on the play sheet, video analysis and on-field calls.
“This camp, as well as the first one last month in Cape Town, has really helped a lot in our preparation for the Castle Lager Incoming Series,” said Meyer on Tuesday.
“We get together less than a week before the first Test, which doesn’t leave a lot of time to prepare, so to be able to work with the players during these camps has been great.
“Apart from the players who are confirmed out of the June Tests, like Frans Malherbe, Pat Cilliers, Duane Vermeulen, Johan Goosen, Frans Steyn and JP Pietersen, I think we got a very good preliminary squad together.
“All of the guys who attended these camps are in the selection frame for the three Tests, but the door certainly isn’t closed to anyone who didn’t get invited. There are still a lot of tough decisions to be made before we can finalise the squad for June.”
Players who took little or no part in the field sessions at Northwood High School were Zane Kirchner (finger), Willie le Roux (hamstring), Juan de Jongh (finger), Jean de Villiers (gluteus), Demetri Catrakilis (calf), Elton Jantjies (shoulder), Francois Hougaard (knee), Siya Kolisi (shoulder), Marcell Coetzee (shoulder), Flip van der Merwe (ankle), Coenie Oosthuizen (shoulder) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (knee).
“We gave our commitment to the franchises that we won’t risk any players carrying injuries or niggles, which is why these guys sat out,” said Meyer.
“Obviously it’s not ideal, but we also did a lot of hard work away from the training field which I’m sure was of big benefit to everyone in the camp.”
The Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series will be named in Cape Town on Saturday evening. The players and management will assemble in Durban on Sunday.