Chiliboy back from injury

2013-08-31 00:00

SOUTH African hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has been cleared to join the Springboks on their Rugby Championship tour and will depart with the squad to Australia today.

The Springboks meet the Wallabies in Brisbane next Saturday and the All Blacks in Auckland a week later.

Ralepelle injured his back during a gym session on the morning of the Springboks’ 73-13 win over Argentina at Soccer City earlier this month. He was ruled out of the tour to Argentina.

He has rejoined the squad at the training camp in Johannesburg this week and, according to Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, he should be fit for selection next week.

He is, however, unlikely to be included in the Test squad of 23 with Bismarck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss ahead of him on the pecking order.

“Chiliboy stayed behind in South Africa to undergo rehabilitation while we went to Argentina and he responded very well,” said Roberts.

Apart from Ralepelle, Bjorn Basson (wing) and Jean de Villiers (centre and captain) have taken little or no part in training in the past two days.

Basson was forced to leave the field with a wrist injury against Argentina in Mendoza, while De Villiers has been in bed with ’flu.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said yesterday that he had targeted winning both Tests on their tour, although history was stacked against them.

The Boks have never won at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, while their last win over the All Blacks in Auckland was in 1937.

Meyer said that setting a goal of one win would be dangerous. “If you open the back door for only one win, you will probably only win one.

“I’ve never coached with the attitude of not winning a game,” Meyer said in Johannesburg yesterday.

“I want to win every single game until the World Cup and that needs to be the attitude of the team.”

Meyer said that the Springboks should stay at home if they believed they could not win on the road.

He pointed out that the un­tidy victory over the Pumas in Mendoza last Saturday was the fourth away win in a row for the Springboks and the eighth on the bounce.

“Every single win away for me is a great win. We got a lot of confidence out of that game in Mendoza.”

He said that the Boks were learning from their tightly contested Test matches in November in the UK, against Scotland in June and now in Mendoza.

“Slowly but surely the team are learning and starting to adapt to what I want and how to handle pressure.

“Away games will always be an arm wrestle. You get stuck in, you have to have your set phases at 100%.

“You need good defence, to absorb the pressure and you need a 90%-plus goal-kicker, which cost us last year.”

He said that the team had also shown character in adversity.

“I am happy with the way we are starting to absorb pressure. Now we face our biggest challenge, because we haven’t won there [Brisbane and Auckland] for quite some time.

“We’d never won at Soccer City and we’d never won in Mendoza, and now we’ve done that.

“I believe the team is getting stronger mentally,” Meyer said.

The five Springboks who travelled back to France for a weekend club game will start the long trek to Brisbane tomorrow, arriving on Monday.

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