Fourie gives Boks steady vibes

Fourie du Preez (Gallo Images)
Fourie du Preez (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer welcomed the calming effect Fourie du Preez brought to the team ahead of their Rugby Championship opener against Argentina at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.

The veteran of 62 Tests has been called into the Springbok squad for the first time since the Springboks’ quarter-final defeat to Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

"I was very impressed with Fourie du Preez today (Monday), I always knew he was a world-class player and it’s been an honour for me to coach him since he was 19-years-old," Meyer said.

"He hasn’t lost anything.

"I know it was the first training session, but the small touches on the ball and the way he puts the forwards through the gaps.... I am very happy that I brought him in.

"You could also see the way he spoke to the youngsters, a guy like Siya (Kolisi) went up to him afterwards and he just brings a steady vibe to the team."

Du Preez was part of Meyer’s plans at the start of his tenure as Springbok coach, but Du Preez, who plays for Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath, felt he was not up to the task of playing for the national side.

After a year away from national duty Du Preez was a surprise inclusion ahead of the Rugby Championships and could find himself in the starting line-up on Saturday.

Meanwhile, team doctor Craig Roberts had no serious injuries to report on Monday.

The only concern was Tendai Mtawarira, who trained on his own but his hamstring strain isn’t a big concern to the team at the moment.

Marcel Coetzee also missed training with flu but is expected.

"I wish I could start every week with a report like this.

"The only carryover is Beast (Tendai Mtawarira) who has a mild hamstring strain.

"He tweaked it at training and to be honest, he is the only guy we have been managing.

"There are one or two guys with flu, but we’re happy with where the overseas guys are," Springok team doctor, Craig Roberts said.

Jannie du Plessis’ calf strain has responded to treatment and the Boks are also confident he will be okay for selection for this weekend.

"We nursed him through training last week and he went through his paces today and did everything we asked of him, so we’re happy with him," Roberts added.

Turning his attention to Argentina, Meyer said the South American team would be an improved team from their debut appearance in the competition.

"They also want to play a more expansive game, so they will be a better side and they’ve adapted to the competition now," he said.

"In the beginning of the year they gave a lot of their players off and had deals with the clubs where they can have their full team.

"They’ve been in training for three to four weeks, so they will be fresh and ready to go."

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