Home Springboks Brussow, Schalla, Matfield back in Bok fold

Brussow, Schalla, Matfield back in Bok fold


World champion Springboks Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger as well as two former Blitzbok stars, Cornal Hendricks and S’bura Sithole, are included in a 36-man squad to attend a national training camp in Durban from 25 to 28 May, the South African Rugby Union announced on Monday.


Cell C Sharks back Sithole and Hendricks, the SA Sevens Player of the Year in 2013, are two of eight uncapped players in the squad. The others are the Toyota Cheetahs duo of Lood de Jager (lock) and Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward); Marcel van der Merwe (prop) and Jacques du Plessis (flank/lock) of the Vodacom Bulls; Marnitz Boshoff (flyhalf) of the Lions and the DHL Stormers’ Damian De Allende (centre/wing).

They will join Matfield, Burger and Toyota Cheetahs flanker Heinrich Brüssow – who are back in the national set up for the first time since the last Rugby World Cup in 2011 – in a training squad that is missing a number of players due to injury.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was happy with the form of a number of the country’s top players and the uncapped players who have grabbed their chance this season, as well as the re-appearance from retirement and long-term injury of Matfield and Burger.

“Victor and Schalk have been out of rugby for a long time. They’ve really been in great form recently and the fact that they have not been with the Boks for more than two years, has made them hungry for Test rugby yet again,” said Meyer.

“It’s great to welcome them back into the Springbok fold and I know both of them can still add a lot of value to the team with the Rugby World Cup in 2015 looming.

“I’m also looking forward to working with Heinrich for the first time. He’s been playing very well for the Toyota Cheetahs since returning from injury and brings a lot of experience.

“However, the message to every player in this training squad is clear – everyone must accelerate in each area from the first moment we are together as a team and that inclusion in this squad is no guarantee of selection.”

Meyer said that injuries had been a concern but they had allowed other players to press their claims. A number of players in the squad are still nursing niggles or recently returned from long-term injuries.

“It looks like most of the guys are improving weekly and a few new players have put up their hands, which is good to see with the first match of the season, against the World XV in Cape Town, only a few weeks away.” said Meyer.

“It’s also very encouraging to see a bunch of new players emerging from Vodacom Super Rugby. This camp will provide us with a great opportunity to work with these players before the squad for the Castle Lager Incoming Series is finalised. I am looking forward to work with these players for the first time.

“This is a very big year for us and the players know they will have to step up a gear, be sharp and focused from the moment we get going in Durban. We have 14 very challenging matches ahead in 2014 and it’s imperative that we build on what was a good season last year.

“It’s important that we start building continuity because there are just 18 matches left until the Rugby World Cup starts. But it’s just as important to recognise continuous good form. We also have a number of players struggling with injury niggles or returning from injury which we have to assess.”

Players based in France, England and Ireland were not considered for this camp as most of them are still playing for their respective clubs.

However, the experienced Fourie du Preez, who played for the Springboks in 2013, has been invited to the camp in Durban as he is available for the Castle Lager Incoming Series against Wales and Scotland as well as against the Samsung-sponsored World XV.

The players invited to the training camp will assemble in Durban on Sunday morning and will return to their franchises on Wednesday morning.

“We have a good working relationship with our local franchises and we have to thank them, as well as Suntory in Japan, for allowing their players to attend this camp,” said Meyer.

Players who were involved with the Springboks last year, but were not considered for selection because of medium to long-term injuries, are Scarra Ntubeni (foot), Chiliboy Ralepelle (knee), Frik Kirsten (neck), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Franco van der Merwe (ankle), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Louis Schreuder (hand), Pat Lambie (bicep), Gio Aplon (elbow) and Jaque Fourie, who could potentially miss the entire Test season because of an ankle injury.

The 36-man Springbok training squad is:

Forwards (20): Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Toyota Cheetahs), Marcel van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls)*, Jannie du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Coenie Oosthuizen (Toyota Cheetahs), Bismarck du Plessis (Cell C Sharks), Adriaan Strauss (Toyota Cheetahs), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Lood de Jager (Toyota Cheetahs)*, Victor Matfield (Vodacom Bulls), Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Bulls), Heinrich Brüssow (Toyota Cheetahs), Marcell Coetzee (Cell C Sharks), Siya Kolisi (DHL Stormers), Willem Alberts (Cell C Sharks), Jacques du Plessis (Vodacom Bulls)*, Teboho Mohoje (Toyota Cheetahs)*, Duane Vermeulen (DHL Stormers), Schalk Burger (DHL Stormers).

Backs (16): Fourie du Preez (Suntory, Japan), Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Bulls), Johan Goosen (Toyota Cheetahs), Marnitz Boshoff (Lions)*, Jean de Villiers (DHL Stormers), Damian De Allende (DHL Stormers)*, Jan Serfontein (Vodacom Bulls), Juan de Jongh (DHL Stormers), JJ Engelbrecht (Vodacom Bulls), S’bura Sithole (Cell C Sharks)*, Frans Steyn (Cell C Sharks), Lwazi Mvovo (Cell C Sharks), Bjorn Basson (Vodacom Bulls), JP Pietersen (Cell C Sharks), Cornal Hendricks (Toyota Cheetahs)*, Willie le Roux (Toyota Cheetahs).


* – Uncapped at Test level

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  1. Given that the Lions front row has been the best of any side in SR the lacuna of not having even one Lions fornt rower in that side is glaring… similarly the usual no-name Bulls player when Lions loose forward Derrick Minnie has been exceptional this season as a carrier, linker with ability to get physical and jump…

    At first glance this is an awful side.

    Jacques Du Plessis? Marcel Van Der Merwe? Adriaan Strauss? Duane Vermeulen? Johan Goosen? Damian De Allende? Juan De Jongh? JJ Engelbrecht?

    Where is Boom Prinsloo? Jacques Cronje? Johan Sadie?

    No this is an awful squad but it’s understandable…. Heyneke Meyer has NOTHING in terms of faling back on talent.

    This is going to be annus horribalus for him and the Boks… IF he survives this (which I doubt) he may have decent shot at RWC.

  2. Unfortunately the squad displays desperate and somewhat uncertain thinking in terms of direction, tactics and future.

  3. @DavidS:

    No way I dont agree. Squad has plenty of experience in the forwards, we can select one heck of a pack.

    Beast, DuPlessis, DuPlessis, Eben, Matfield, Brussouw, Alberts, Duane. Thats very impressive considering some injuries

    We probably would be mostly worried (as usual) with who will play 10. We have some form sharkies in the backs, but Frans at 10?

  4. Looks a bit thin up front.
    Bakkies and Steph will be missed .
    No huge enforcer and the front game goes tits up

  5. good many players very lucky to get a last shot. Strauss, JJ the luckiest of the oldies to get another chance. I thought Strauss in particular has been poor this season, while JJ has just never done anything that in my mind gives him Bok credibility.

    Agree with Dawie on the usual nameless Bulls oke that somehow warrants a look in above Minnie, Whitely etc who really stood out. Ditto Goosen and Basson.

    But enough young okes to push oldies. Very happy for Hendricks, Lood and Mohoje – and of course Brussouw.

    Wish we could read R Ebersohn and not the wildly overrated Serfontein/JJ combo.

  6. @Sasori:

    no not really. but serfontein/jj is all hype. yet to see either of them get even close to being the best in their possies in SA, yet Bok selection guaranteed. Ditto Goosen.

  7. Don’t know what I’m more excited about….
    The announced lineup or DavidS use of the word “lacuna”?

    Glad HB Brussouw gets a look – this shows HM is a freethinker & not weighed down by past proclimations or dogma.

    I would be VERY interested to see Cornal Hendricks get a shot.
    I think the end-end counter off turnover try is what got HM attention.

  8. I’m no selector, but this team below is very solid and has loads of experience. Even if some players are not on form in super rugby, often it can be reversed when they are removed from the super rugby team environment and put into the springbok fold. I have hope for us this year

    1 Tendai Mtawarira
    2 Bismarck du Plessis
    3 Jannie du Plessis
    4 Eben Etzebeth
    5 Victor Matfield
    6 Heinrich Brüssow
    7 Willem Alberts
    8 Duane Vermeulen
    9 Fourie du Preez
    10 Johan Goosen (????) Who else
    11 Lwazi Mvovo
    12 Frans Steyn
    13 Jean de Villiers
    14 JP Pietersen
    15 Willie le Roux

    16 Adriaan Strauss
    17 Coenie Oosthuizen
    18 Flip van der Merwe
    19 Schalk Burger
    20 Francois Hougaard
    21 Jan Serfontein
    22 JJ Engelbrecht

  9. @Jacques(Bunny):

    I see doom and gloom…

    Jannie and Beast have been awful scrumming and carrying the ball.

    Bis is half his form self.

    Matfield is firing at 75% but even there is better than any lock we have and will have for the foreseeable future.

    Honestly Schalk Burger and Americano’s Honeybadger have been in form but none of the rest have shown any form which justifies Springbok inclusion. Hougaard has not shown any form and none of our flyhalves have either… maybe if Boshoff gets a pack going forward?

    Centers…. honestly? Sadie maybe… Sithole maybe but in truth none of them…

    Wings I reckon JP Pietersen has shown his class.

    Nobody else

    Fullback is Willie das Messerschmidt…

    We are filled with talent shortages… even amongst the youngsters

  10. Brussouw has put his hand up, well done in re-inventing yourself but too small in the height obsessed world of HM.
    As for the two Bulls centres…jeez was expecting a lot more from those two talented individuals so there I am pleased that Sithole or even Hendricks.

    No Paul Jordaan but JDejongh…oh vei.

    Nice to have seen Reinach, Sarel or Kockott get the nod instead we get kickers and Fdup! Even Whitley…

    Good to see Boshoff, JDuP and Lood get the nod.

    This is poor “winning margin” selections…

  11. What does Minni have to do to be given a chance! He has been great this season! Boom is still a sapling so maybe another season or so he will grow into a strudy Proposition…

    Happy to see Sithole get rewarded

  12. Thanks Morne yes |I saw …

    Still he could have been bracketed… he certainly deserves a cal up to the Bok training camp at the least… heck if Siya Kolisi and Jacques Du Plessis can get there then surely he can…

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