When the greater Springbok squad breaks camp in Umhlangha Rocks on Monday, they will not have pulled on so much as a rugby boot after coach Heyneke Meyer will have focused attention on cerebral matters for the series against England, given that Super Rugby is taking care of the physical.
The Sharks and Stormers players were surely in no mood to get out of bed in Durban on Sunday after their bruising battle on Saturday, and the bleary-eyed Bulls contingent had come straight from New Zealand after their match in Hamilton against the Chiefs. The last arrivals were the Lions players, who missed some of Sunday’s schedule because they were the last to play in overseas action, having flown from Perth where they played the Force on Saturday.
This session in Durban is primarily about familiarising the players with the game plan for the England series, checking out their physical condition and allowing the management team to have a rehearsal before the three-match series kicks off on June 9 at Kings Park.
The camp is as much about the players as it is about the coaching staff, and Meyer is making sure his lieutenants know the lie of the land in terms of training and hotel facilities before they switch to a war footing a week later. The coach has said he wants to cover every possible topic between players and management to ensure all hit the ground running when they reconvene in six days’ time to prepare for the first Test.
Meyer will appoint an interim captain for this series, possibly a respected veteran such as Jean de Villiers, and has said that he will continually evaluate the prickly captaincy issue as his tenure unfolds.
He is in no hurry to appoint a permanent captain for the four years leading up to the next World Cup.
Forwards (22): Coenie Oosthuizen, Tendai Mtawarira, Dean Greyling, Jannie du Plessis, Pat Cilliers, Werner Kruger, Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Flip van der Merwe, Eben Etzebeth, Andries Bekker, Juandré Kruger, Marcell Coetzee, CJ Stander, Heinrich Brüssow, Keegan Daniel, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski, Josh Strauss.
Backs (20): Francois Hougaard, Jano Vermaak, Piet van Zyl, Morné Steyn, Pat Lambie, Elton Jantjies, Peter Grant, Wynand Olivier, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Bjorn Basson, JP Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Lwazi Mvovo, Akona Ndungane, Zane Kirchner, Jaco Taute, Joe Pietersen.