De Villiers boost for Boks

2014-08-20 00:00

THE Springboks have arrived in Argentina and are busy preparing for their second Test of the Rugby Championship against the Pumas.

The first order of business was an update from Springbok doctor Craig Roberts on the availability and fitness of the Springbok players.

Roberts confirmed that Victor Matfield and Willem Alberts are not available until the Boks’ first clash against Australia in September.

“The two guys we left behind were Willem Alberts with a hamstring injury and Victor Matfield, who’s coming back from a knee cartilage problem,” said Roberts.

Pat Lambie also joined the squad for their trip to Argentina, but isn’t an injury concern, although he did pick up a mild ankle strain in his brief appearance for the Sharks last Friday. Veteran flank Juan Smith will be assessed at training after picking up a small hamstring niggle.

The good news is that Bok captain Jean de Villiers is looking good after his return from injury last weekend.

The Bok doctor conceded that the trip is a difficult one and the players are being managed accordingly.

“A long flight does take it out of you. The more you travel the easier it gets and our guys are really used to long haul travel. We do have a lot of strategies in place that we implement to adapt to the jet lag,” he said.

However he said the trip east is easier than a long flight westwards, but the players will take a few days to get used to the time difference.

The Boks will only have two training sessions before their test in Salta, but Roberts is comfortable with the preparation that was made in the weeks leading up to the Rugby Championships.

“It was always our planning and that’s why we spent a lot of time in Joburg, we had that week before the first Test. We always knew we were only going to have two training sessions here in Argentina. It is a short week in terms of training, but a lot of the work has already been done.

Meanwhile backline coach Ricardo Loubser is looking forward to his backs having a chance to shine after rain forced the Boks into a conservative approach last weekend.

“Hopefully on Saturday the backs can get a few more opportunities that we can either create or finish,” he said.

However the Springboks won’t be taking the Argentineans lightly.

“The focus is just to win the game to start off. Obviously to score four tries will be a bonus, but for us this week is all about making sure we focus on our prep and to go out for a win,” he said.

The Boks take on Argentina in Salta, kick-off is at 9.40 pm on Saturday.

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