Unlikely Sharks head for camp

2013-05-23 00:00

FOUR players who have missed all or most of the Sharks’ Super Rugby campaign — Bismarck du Plessis, Beast Mtawarira, Willem Alberts and Ryan Kankowski — have been included in the Springbok squad for the second training camp to be held in Durban this weekend ahead of the June internationals.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday announced a squad of 38 players, adding eight new players who were not at the first camp to cover for the many injuries.

Bismarck du Plessis has played no rugby this year — he is expected to play off the bench against the Bulls on Saturday — prop Beast Mtawarira only rejoined the squad this week after a lengthy break, Kankowski was dropped from the Sharks squad before their overseas tour and Alberts has started in only one Super Rugby game this season (last Friday).

Two other senior Sharks, JP Pietersen and Frans Steyn, have been ruled out because of injury, but one of their team-mates, young tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst, was rewarded for his solid form with a call-up for the second camp.

The other new players are Gio Aplon (Stormers, wing/fullback), the Cheetahs’ trio of Trevor Nyakane (prop), Lappies Labuschagne (loose forward) and Willie le Roux (fullback/wing), the Bulls pair of JJ Engelbrecht (centre/wing) and Lionel Mapoe (wing/centre), and Kings flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis.

The two-day camp will follow the Sharks’ home game against the Bulls on Saturday night.

Seven injured players, who were part of Springbok squads in 2012, were not available. They are Pietersen, Steyn, Jaco Taute, Johan Goosen, Duane Vermeulen, Pat Cilliers and Frans Malherbe.

Andries Bekker has signed for a Japanese club and was not available.

“Overseas-based players were not considered for this camp as some of them are still playing in their respective finals this coming weekend. They are at the end of their seasons and need a well-deserved break before the start of the series,” said Meyer.

The Springboks coach said the high number of injuries to key players was a concern, but he was encouraged by the form of the others.

“It looks like most of the guys are improving weekly and a few new players have put up their hands, which is good to see with the first Test only a few weeks away. We’ve also been very impressed with the form shown by a number of players since we were together in April. This camp will provide us with a great opportunity to work with these players before the squad for the Incoming Series is finalised,” he added.

The Boks face Italy at King’s Park on June 8 in their first international.



Forwards (19): Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Jannie du Plessis, Coenie Oosthuizen, Wiehahn Herbst, Adriaan Strauss, Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Eben Etzebeth, Flip van der Merwe, Juandré Kruger, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne, Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski

Backs (19): Jano Vermaak, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Morné Steyn, Elton Jantjies, Demetri Catrakilis, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Jan Serfontein, Robert Ebersohn, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Lwazi Mvovo, Raymond Rhule, Lionel Mapoe, Bjorn Basson, Gio Aplon, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux

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