JOHANNESBURG — Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer invited eight new players — including Toyota Cheetahs stars Lappies Labuschagne, Willie le Roux and Southern Kings flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis — to be part of the second Springbok training camp in Durban this weekend.
The Bok coach named 38 players for the camp, which will give him an ideal opportunity to run the rule over a number of stalwarts and in-form players before he names his final squad of 30 for the Castle Lager Incoming series next month.
In all, some changes were simply because of injury, while other players’ form was so impressive that Meyer could ill-afford to ignore them for much longer.
The Bok coach rewarded the Cheetahs for their impressive form this year — consistently either in or just outside the top six of Super Rugby and in with a real chance of making the playoffs for the first time in their history — with the inclusion of the exciting Le Roux, loose forward Labuschagne and impressive young prop Trevor Nyakane.
Also in for the first time was Catrakilis, who has played well in a Southern Kings side who has excelled under pressure in the Easter Cape franchise’s first Super Rugby season. The Stormers’ Gio Aplon also gets a recall.
Sharks prop Wiehahn Herbst, one of the most powerful scrummagers in the competition, has been rewarded for his form, while the Bulls duo of Lionel Mapoe and JJ Engelbrecht have been brought back after some impressive form in the tournament.
With the high injury toll, several players were not considered — including JP Pietersen, Jaco Taute, Frans Steyn, Johan Goosen, Duane Vermeulen, Pat Cilliers and Frans Malherbe, while Andries Bekker’s injury and plane ticket to Japan has excluded him from being selected.
Interestingly, while there are enough forwards, only two scrumhalves have been named, with the Bulls duo of Jano Vermaak and Francois Hougaard seemingly almost assured of their place in the Bok set-up. Piet van Zyl can be very unlucky not to have received a call-up, while Cobus Reinach is still recovering from injury.
Springbok coach Meyer said he was impressed with the form of a number of the country’s top players, despite concerns about the high number of injuries to key players.
“It looks like most of the guys are improving weekly and a few new players have put up their hands, which is good to see with the first test only a few weeks away,” said Meyer.
“This camp will provide us with a great opportunity to work with these players before the squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series is finalised.”
Players invited to the second springbok training camp of 2013:
Forwards (19): Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Jannie du Plessis, Coenie Oosthuizen, Wiehahn Herbst, Adriaan Strauss, Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Eben Etzebeth, Flip van der Merwe, Juandré Kruger, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne, Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski.
Backs (19): Jano Vermaak, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Morné Steyn, Elton Jantjies, Demetri Catrakilis, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Jan Serfontein, Robert Ebersohn, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Lwazi Mvovo, Raymond Rhule, Lionel Mapoe, Bjorn Basson, Gio Aplon, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux.