Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is concerned about South Africa’s top rugby players having to revert to the “old” laws when they play Wales in two Test matches in June.
The players had to make major adjustments to play Super 14 rugby under the experimental laws. Now, with South Africa’s first international of 2008 just a month away, De Villiers is under no illusion about the challenges awaiting his team.
“It’s going to be tough,” De Villiers said on Monday. “Wales will certainly have an advantage on this tour.”
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that the International Rugby Board announced last week that 13 of the 23 experimental law variations that have been tried out in the southern hemisphere would be used worldwide from August 1
The matches against Wales and the Test against Italy on June 21 will be played according to the laws that most top SA players last encountered in the 2007 World Cup tournament and at the end of last year’s Currie Cup season.
It will be a challenge to revert to the “old” laws but De Villiers acknowledges that it would have been unfair to expect of Wales to play the Springbok under the “new” laws. The Welsh players have no experience of the laws used in Super 14 rugby this year.
Not overly concerned
Wales have received some more bad news during the past few days. The number of injured players who are unavailable for the tour has grown alarmingly.
Flanker Martyn Williams, fullback Lee Byrne and scrumhalf Mike Phillips have suffered knee injuries and star centre Gavin Henson has an ankle injury.
However, De Villiers expects the Welsh to field a powerful team for the first Test in Bloemfontein.
“Injuries happen,” he said. “But we should remember Wales did not win the Six Nations as a result of individual brilliance but because they were such a good team.”
The new Springbok coach is not overly concerned about some leading candidates for places in the SA team suffering from injuries. He feels there is still sufficient time for a player such as flanker Schalk Burger to make progress.
“One will always have injured players and others who are not well. It may be difficult to replace some but that’s the challenge.
“It has been said Schalk will be out for six weeks but let’s see what happens.”
The Springbok squad for the two Test matches against Wales will be announced on May 18.Tweet