Durban – The first indication for a Springbok team ahead of the Tri Nations and World Cup was given when the South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced a 51-man squad for a team planning session at the start of next month.
The announcement of the Bok captain though has been reserved until 2 May.
The players will attend two days of meetings and logistical discussions in the first of three national camps in preparation for the international season, and with less than 150 days to go before the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Bok coach Peter de Villiers will want to begin preparations in earnest.
“SARU’s priority is first and foremost with Springbok preparations in this Rugby World Cup year and with the support of the provinces, our national team department has been able to plan three squad get-togethers during Vodacom Super Rugby,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
“There are many demands on the Springboks as well as off-field operational matters to be attended to in a Rugby Wold Cup year and as part of Peter de Villiers’s long-term planning, he requested that time be made now so that the team can get straight to on-field work once they gather for the first Tests of the year in July.”
De Villiers stressed that these sessions are for planning purposes and working towards being ready for final team selections.
“Our first Tri-Nations Test kicks off only two weeks after the Vodacom Super Rugby final and I wanted to make sure that we can get straight to work on the field with some quality preparation when we get together and not be compromised by players familiarising themselves with our structures or understanding logistical issues.
“By the end of this series of camps, I hope that any of the players we call on will be familiar with our on and off the field systems and the logistical boxes have all been ticked. These sessions are not about selection now – they’re about being ready when we make the final selections.”
The closed planning session will take place in Cape Town on May 1 and 2.
The first Springbok squad of the season will be named on July 2 or 9, depending on South African representation in the Super Rugby final.
The selectors named seven uncapped players in the planning group, although only three of them are not already Springboks: wing Lionel Mapoe, scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius and looseforward Duane Vermeulen.
The four uncapped Springboks among the group are flyhalf Elton Jantjies, scrumhalf Charl McLeod and props Coenie Oosthuizen and Werner Kruger. All four appeared for the Springboks against the Barbarians in December 2010.
Overseas based players were not considered for the sessions.
The players called to the national team planning session are: Willem Alberts, Gio Aplon, Bjorn Basson, Andries Bekker, Bakkies Botha, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Keegan Daniel, Juan de Jongh, Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie, Peter Grant, Bryan Habana, Alistair Hargreaves, Francois Hougaard, Adi Jacobs, Elton Jantjies, Ricky Januarie, Ryan Kankowski, Zane Kirchner, Werner Kruger, Pat Lambie, Francois Louw, Bandise Maku, Lionel Mapoe, Victor Matfield, Charl McLeod, Tendai Mtawarira, Waylon Murray, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Wynand Olivier, Coenie Oosthuizen, JP Pietersen, Dewaldt Potgieter, Sarel Pretorius, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Danie Rossouw , John Smit, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Deon Stegmann, Morné Steyn, Adriaan Strauss , CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe and Duane Vermeulen. – Kemantha Govender, BuaNews