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
“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
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