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.
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
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.”
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
This means that he is unlikely to start in the first Test against in
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.