Johannesburg – The first Springbok camp had a crocked look about it with more than half of the 44 players unable to participate in training in Johannesburg on Monday due to injuries.
Of the 44 players invited to the camp, 19 missed training altogether, while only five took part in some of the training drills.
While the long list of injuries would be disconcerting for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, he maintained that none of the players were complete right-offs ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which takes place in England, starting in September.
"I am always worried about the injuries this time of the season and although there has been some criticism about 44 players participating only 20 guys training," Meyer said following Monday’s field session at St Peter’s College.
Team doctor Craig Roberts said although there was hope for most of the injured players to make a full recovery, any serious injury four months from the global showpiece would take them out of contention.
"At the moment we’ve got quite a bit of time, everyone at the moment is still in contention but injuries come and go," Roberts said.
"If we pick up a nasty knee injury now the time frames are too short and as we get closer and closer to the World Cup and the guys still I get nervous."
Roberts said the Bok injury list was looking better than expected this time of the year with the players playing Super Rugby at the highest level.
"There is a lot of exposure in rugby and you expect guys to pick up injuries but so far there is no one I can categorically say won’t be available for the World Cup," added Roberts.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers was at an advanced stage in his recovery and looked set to make it in time for rugby’s biggest spectacle.
Roberts said Sharks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who suffered a serious knee injury in March, has had ‘good and bad weeks’ on his road to recovery.
"It is premature to make a call on him (Du Toit) now but we’ll give him as much time as he needs but it is obviously the coach’s decision when he selects his squad."
Players that took little or no part in training: Jesse Kriel, Pat Lambie, Jean de Villiers, Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jan Serfontein, Coenie Oosthuisen, Oupa Mohoje, Willie le Roux, Rudy Paige, Heinrich Brüssow, Kobus van Wyk, Robbie Coetzee, Siya Kolisi, Dean Greyling, Elton Jantjies, Juan de Jongh, Ruan Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Arno Botha, Bjorn Basson, Schalk Burger, Trevor Nyakane, Francois Venter.