Bok doc: Everyone will be available

2015-09-07 18:18
Pat Lambie (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - With the entire Springbok squad expected to be fit before the start of the Rugby World Cup, team doctor Craig Roberts says the next challenge is to get the players match-fit.

Roberts gave an update on the injury situation in the Springbok camp with a bout of 'flu keeping captain Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana sidelined.

“At this stage everyone will be available for that first game and it is our plan to have 31 fit players and up to the coach to select the 23 for that first game,” Roberts said in Johannesburg on Monday.

“It’s more illness at this stage than injury, but I am happy with our progress and we are still two weeks away from that first game and we are getting the guys into full-on training so I am happy.”

Eben Etzebeth had a light calf strain, but the towering lock is expected to be fit for selection for the Boks’ opening World Cup match against Japan in Brighton on September 19.

Long-term injury layoffs Duane Vermeulen, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw all took part in sessions on Monday.

“We are building the guys up slowly. We've started progressing a lot of guys into full training, Francois Louw did a full session and came through nicely,” Roberts said.”

“Fourie du Preez is doing really well at the moment and we are happy with progress and we are building Duane Vermeulen more and more into contact.”

Roberts said Du Preez, who is one of Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer’s trump cards for their World Cup campaign, had been making positive progress.

The Bok halfback had come through nicely after suffering a knee injury in June this year and has not played a Test since June 2014.

“Fourie has done really well and he obviously hasn’t played a lot of rugby, so for him we are trying to give him more and more simulating game time,” Roberts said.

“He did the full training session today, including the contact session, and he took some nice hits, he came through that nicely and we are building his confidence as we go.”

Roberts said months of conditioning training was evident in the general conditioning of the players.

"They have been training incredibly hard for the last three months and in the last three weeks in Durban they really put in the hard yards," he said.

"If I look at the guys and their body fats and how fit and lean they are looking I am happy with where they are at the moment."

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