Cape Town - The Springboks have released four squad members
to the SA 'A' side for the first of their two matches match against the England
Saxons in Bloemfontein on Friday evening.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni, flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe, scrumhalf
Nic Groom and flyhalf Garth April are all members of the 31-man Bok training
squad that first got together last week in Stellenbosch. They will join coach
Johan Ackermann and his SA 'A' side on Tuesday evening in Bloemfontein and will
be in action on Friday.
The four players will rejoin the Springbok squad on Saturday
in Cape Town, where the Boks are facing Ireland in the opening Test of a
three-Test series. The two remaining encounters between the two sides will be
played on consecutive weekends in Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June
Meanwhile, the Springboks continued with their final
preparations for the weekend’s big clash with a split session between backs and
forwards in Cape Town earlier on Tuesday morning.
The backline players were put through their paces at the
Cape Town Stadium, while the forwards performed their drills at the Green Point
Track next door.
Experienced Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen said afterwards
it was great to be back in South Africa. He plays his club rugby in France and
is one of only three overseas-based players in the Bok squad.
“It is very nice to be back amongst team-mates, those I know
and also to meet the new faces,” said Vermeulen.
“There is a great spirit in the camp and we all looking
forward to the first Test on Saturday. The Irish will come with a huge
onslaught and our job this week is to make sure we prepare ourselves thoroughly
so we are able to meet that challenge.”
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will name his match-day 23
on Thursday afternoon at a media conference in Cape Town. The last time the
Springboks and Ireland met in a Test on South African soil was 12 years ago,
when Coetzee was one of the assistant coaches.