VIDEO, PICS: Andries Coetzee lays ‘foundation’ at Bok camp


The Springbok squad got on to the training field for the first time on Tuesday since assembling the day before in Plettenberg Bay, and began the journey to the first Test against France on June 10 at Loftus Versfeld.

The Bok fullback-in-waiting, Lions star Andries Coetzee, said the big crowd that turned out at Bitou Rugby Club made it feel as if the players were about to play a match.

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Siya Kolisi takes a selfie with the Springbok fans at Bitou Rugby Club in Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday. Photo: Wynona LouwTendai Mtawarira and Elton Jantjies (right) sign autographs on Tuesday. Photo: Wynona LouwPieter-Steph du Toit makes it a memorable day for a Springbok fan in Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Wynona LouwSiya Kolisi, Rudy Paige and Oupa Mohoje interact with the fans at Bitou Rugby Club on Tuesday. Photo: Wynona Louw

The 27-year-old Coetzee is a seasoned campaigner at the Lions, having earned 55 Super Rugby caps with the Johannesburg-based side, and is the only specialist fullback named in Allister Coetzee’s 32-man squad for the three-Test series against France.

The other contenders for the No 15 jersey are Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn and Dillyn Leyds, but it would be a big surprise if the Bok coach didn’t start with the man from the Lions.

“We had a really good training session. It was important to have strong opponents like SWD (for the two practices), and I trust that the coaches are happy with what we did today. They gave us a good test in attack and defence. We said we wanted to build a foundation, and that foundation started today. We can just get stronger from here,” Andries Coetzee said.

“It was really great to see all the supporters here. I told Jaco (Kriel) as well that it looked almost as if we were going to play a game here today, such was the excitement and energy from the crowd.

“I think all the guys just want to say thank you for all the supporters and people here who came out just to watch us practice. It’s really great from their side.”

The Springboks received a warm welcome from the community of Plettenberg Bay at a training session on Tuesday. Video: Wynona Louw

Montpellier’s Steyn is expected to arrive in camp from France on Wednesday – after playing for the Barbarians against England at inside centre this past Sunday.

Loose forward Duane Vermeulen is only scheduled to join the Boks next week Tuesday as he is playing in the French Top 14 final for Toulon against Clermont on Sunday in Paris.

This means that he is unlikely to start in the first Test against in Pretoria. Vermeulen was a strong candidate for the No 7 jersey, but that could go to Oupa Mohoje if Siya Kolisi lines up at openside flank as expected.

Jean-Luc du Preez has been in top form for the Sharks, but was initially left out of the Bok group and picked in the SA ‘A’ side, so it would be a contentious selection were he to leapfrog an in-form Mohoje into the starting XV.

Jaco Kriel got 19 minutes of game time for the Lions in his return to action after four weeks out with a knee injury, so he might be short of a gallop to start a Test match at this stage.

IOL Sport

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