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Springboks taking shape in Bloemfontein as Test rugby preparations begin in earnest

FILE - Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids. Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images via BackpagePix

FILE - Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids. Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images via BackpagePix

Published Jun 15, 2021


CAPE TOWN - SLOWLY but surely the Springbok squad is taking shape in Bloemfontein, with 26 of the 46 players now in training for the international season kick-off against Georgia on 2 July.

First it was the Japan-based players that set-up the camp in the Free State capital and now they have been joined by most of the South Africa-based players — there are still a few stragglers on the way — and then the overseas-based Boks will soon complete the picture.

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ALSO READ: You can clearly see an improvement in Siya Kolisi’s play, says Bok assistant coach Deon Davids

The Boks play Georgia on successive weekends and then the first Test against the British & Irish Lions is on 24 July.

Springbok forwards coach Deon Davids said that every training session has to count given that the Boks have not been together on a match footing since 2019.

“The guys have not played a Test match for a long time but obviously they have a very good understanding of what works after so much work was done at the World Cup,” Davids said.

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“Now it is about polishing detail in every aspect of forward play and there has to be clarity in every session as to what we want to achieve.”

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Davids said that he has been pleased to have the input of captain Siya Kolisi, who has been on board since Sunday.

“Me and Siya and the rest of the forwards have been in conversations on a lot of fundamentals and a lot of technical stuff in terms of their performances over the past competitions,” Davids said.

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“It’s just fantastic having Siya’s experience in our sessions — he is a big, core part of this whole pack of forwards going forward.

“It’s been good to watch Siya coming back (from injury) and playing for the Sharks over the past few weeks, you can clearly see an improvement in the way he performs with the ball, and especially off the ball.”

Davids also expressed a positive opinion on the recall of Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez to the Bok squad after a three-year absence.

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The 25-year-old twins from KwaZulu-Natal have been consistently good for Sale Sharks in the English Premiership and have forced the Bok door open because of their versatility and brute physicality.

“I’ve worked with them at Under20 level, they are quality rugby players, big and physical,” said Davids.

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“They are also excellent line-out forwards and ball-carriers; they are strong in contact and can both stop and give momentum.

“With them playing in Europe against quality opponents week in and week out, I think they have improved a lot in terms of upping their work rate, getting involved in battles, execution, versatility and how they are used in the lineouts.”

Both of the twins have been used in the second row on occasion by Sale, particularly Jean-Luc who only played blindside flank in Durban. No 8 Dan had a little experience of lock before joining Sale.

“They offer us different dimensions, and it’s fantastic to see them making that step up and playing to their ability, so we’re looking forward to having them join us,” Davids said.

IOL Sport

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