Rassie Erasmus has brought together the Springboks for a training camp for the first time this year ahead of next month’s Rugby Championship.
A group of 26 players, including veteran hooker Schalk Brits, have been called to Pretoria for the Springboks national alignment and conditioning camps.
Brits returned to the Bulls this season with the hope of resurrecting his career and breaking into the Rugby World Cupsquad and it seems as though he has caught the eye of Rassie Erasmus. Sharks hooker, Akker van der Merwe, has not made the squad having struggled with injury in the latter part of the Super Rugby season. Brits and van der Merwe engaged in a brawl when the Sharks met the Bulls at the end of March. Brits may have come off second best in that punch up but he is at least winning the selection battle.
The Springboks begin preparations for the forthcoming international season in earnest this week. The group welcomes eight overseas-based Springboks, three among the forwards and five in the backline.
Players from the Bulls and Sharks teams that took part in the weekend’s Super Rugby quarter-final matches, will join the camp from Monday.
The Springboks kick off their shortened Rugby Championship campaign on 20 July against the Wallabies in Johannesburg and that match will be followed a week later by the keenly awaited rematch with New Zealand in Wellington, the scene of last year’s epic away win over against the All Blacks.
The Boks conclude their official campaign against Argentina two weeks later, on 10 August in Salta, while the same two teams are set to meet again a week later in Pretoria in a once-off Test before the Boks report for Rugby World Cup training duty. Boks vs ABs Rugby on July 27