Bok youngsters set to tour

2010-10-21 22:30
Patrick Lambie (Gallo Images)
JJ Harmse

Pretoria – Another Springbok backline player has been ruled out of the Springboks’ Grand Slam tour that starts in just over a week’s time and includes Tests against Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.

JP Pietersen is now also out of the tour. The Sharks wing has a hamstring injury and withdrew on Thursday. Wynand Olivier also indicated on Wednesday that he would not be able to tour due to a groin injury and that he would have to undergo an operation.

Earlier, Jaque Fourie injured a foot and also needed surgery that has sidelined him for the duration of the tour.

Altogether 37 players will get together in Johannesburg on Friday morning for a planning session and training camp with a view to next month’s Bok tour and next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Only 13 backline players remain in the squad of 37 that will prepare under the watchful eye of coach Peter de Villiers on Friday and Saturday.

With neither Olivier nor Pietersen replaced, it’s virtually certain that all 13 will be in the final Bok squad.

The touring squad of 30 usually includes 14 backline players, but in this instance the coach will probably be eager to include an additional loose forward.

It appears, therefore, as if youngsters Elton Jantjies and Patrick Lambie will tour.

Both played for the SA under-20 side at the Junior World Cup in Argentina and afterwards performed well in the Currie Cup.

The players that get together in Fourways on Friday will have two training sessions.

Almost half the squad will play against one another next weekend when the Sharks and Western Province meet in the Currie Cup final. A day later they will get together as team-mates in Johannesburg.

It’s not an ideal situation, but De Villiers does not have much of a choice.

The South African Rugby Union (SARU) are being paid an enormous amount of money for the Springboks to open the new stadium against Ireland.

De Villiers will hold a media conference with assistant coaches Dick Muir and Gary Gold on Friday, and is set to reveal his tour plans then.

It is being widely speculated that senior players will not be there for the entire tour, but that will only be confirmed on Friday.

De Villiers will also have to answer questions about his working relationship with Muir and Gold after he asked other coaches to assist him on tour.

Meanwhile, there was the good news on Thursday of Butch James knowing his World Cup plans are in place should he be picked next year.

James, who will not play again this year because of a shoulder injury, told the Bath Chronicle that he is aiming for the World Cup and that only his form would stand between him and a place in the 30-man squad to New Zealand.

James gained the approval of club side Bath to attend Bok training camps if necessary following a visit by SARU national teams manager Andy Marinos to the club last week.

The player was in the middle of a tug-of-war between SARU and Premiership Rugby in June about his participation for the Boks outside the Test window period.

“It has now been sorted out and all that remains for me is to recover fully from my injury and then convince the Bok selectors with my performances on the field that I should go to the World Cup. That is my focus,” he said.

Read more on:    patrick lambie  |  elton jantjies  |  boks

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