Schalk Burger will know only next week when he will be able to start playing rugby again but the Springbok flanker has written off next month’s two-Test series against Wales.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger will see a specialist about his knee injury next Wednesday. “I should know then but I think I’ll still be out for a month,” he said on Wednesday when he appeared at the Somerset West hotel where the Springbok training squad are staying.
This means Luke Watson could play in his second Test match when the Springboks take on Wales in Bloemfontein on June 7.
Watson made a controversial debut against Samoa last year after being included in the SA team against the will of the coach, Jake White.
However, the Stormers loose forward has played well this season and seemed relaxed in the company of the other players on Wednesday.
New Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said he already had a starting lineup in mind for the first Test.
“I have a good idea of the team that I’d like to field against Wales,” De Villiers said, adding that some rules still had to be finalised and that injuries could change matters.
SA Rugby announced on Wednesday that Springbok captain John Smit, veteran fullback Percy Montgomery, lock forward Victor Matfield and flyhalf Butch James would join the squad on Monday.
Smit will be available to captain the team in both Tests against Wales but not for the match against Italy on June 21.
He will return to France, where he has commitments with the Clermont club. The same applies to Montgomery, who plays for Perpignan.
‘Butch was jumping up and down’
Matfield has been re-contracted by the Blue Bulls and James has completed his commitments at the English club Bath.
Italy proved in the recent Six Nations competition that they could be competitive against top sides, therefore Smit’s situation is not ideal.
“It’s a little worrying but it’s better to work with people than against them,” De Villiers said.
“I did not want the guys who are playing abroad to feel they were being favoured ahead of those in South Africa.
“It was news to everyone, except John, when they were called up.
“Butch was jumping up and down and shouting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” You can’t stop that kind of passion,” the coach said.
“I did not negotiate with the clubs. We must not stand in the way of the players to fulfil their commitments. If I get my way in everything, it may hurt the players.”
Wednesday was a big day for De Villiers, who had been appointed as national coach in January. It was the first time he had had contact with the players in a squad.
“I feel I have done reasonably well with things that I am unaccustomed to,” he said, referring to media commitments, among others.
“What I am really good at is coaching, and to work with people. I am looking forward to taking the players and seeing how far I can push them. I’m very excited.”Tweet