The Springbok rugby squad had a rare injury-free day on Tuesday but Sharks centre Adrian Jacobs caused a major fright among members of the management team.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Jacobs was sent for a scan immediately after picking up a hamstring problem only 20 minutes after the start of the morning’s training session at Stellenbosch.
“The result is positive but we decided he should not train in the afternoon,” Bok spokesperson Chris Hewitt said.
With Jaque Fourie and Meyer Bosman already injured, the available depth at centre has caused concern, so the reaction to Jacobs’s injury was understandable.
Hewitt added that hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle had been sent for a knee scan. “He can take contact but we’ll be conservative in the way we use him.”
The national team’s coach, Peter de Villiers, will announce a squad of 30 players on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for the two Test matches against Wales and one against Italy.
Jacobs should be one of the centres but Ralepelle will probably struggle to get into the squad. Springbok captain John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis and Schalk Brits are the leading candidates for the hooker position.
Hewitt revealed that the 30 had already been selected earlier on Tuesday. Any further consultation among the selectors would be done telephonically, he added.
One of the talking points may be the form of World Cup heroes JP Pietersen and Danie Rossouw.
Scored good tries
Pietersen and Rossouw have not been at their best for the Sharks and the Bulls respectively but their experience will be taken into account.
Pietersen scored good tries on the wing during the 2007 season and Rossouw was one of the best No 8s at the World Cup tournament.
However, Rossouw will battle to keep Ryan Kankowski and Pierre Spies out of the Springbok squad.
With Schalk Burger and Wikus van Heerden also injured, Luke Watson could be selected as the only fetcher among the loose forwards.
Springboks Percy Montgomery (fullback) and Butch James (flyhalf) joined the training squad on Tuesday.
Victor Matfield was the only remaining absentee at the afternoon session but Hewitt said the Springbok lock would arrive at the squad’s hotel in Somerset West during the evening.
De Villiers had given the overseas-based players until Wednesday to join the training squad. It is clear, therefore, that Smit, Montgomery and James are part of his plans.
Smit arrived on Monday and his strong leadership was immediately obvious.
“John is unbelievable,” Hewitt said. “He takes charge in providing tactical input. He talks to the players as his equals and has already done much for their motivation. His positive impact could be felt immediately.
SA Rugby announced on Tuesday that Andy Marinos, manager of national teams, and Ann-Lee Murray had been added to the Springbok team’s management staff.
Murray will take care of administrative matters on a permanent basis and Marinos has been seconded to the management in a short-term move.
Murray was a valuable member of former Springbok coach Jake White’s management team and Marinos played a deciding role in negotiations to have Smit released from his contract with French club Clermont
A possible Springbok squad:
Backs: Percy Montgomery, Conrad Jantjes, Tonderai Chavhanga, Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Akona Ndungane, Adrian Jacobs, Frans Steyn, Jean de Villiers, Peter Grant, Butch James, Ruan Pienaar, Bolla Conradie, Ricky Januarie.
Forwards: Ryan Kankowski, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Hilton Lobberts, Luke Watson, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Andries Bekker, Johann Muller, Brian Mujati, CJ van der Linde, John Smit (capt), Bismarck du Plessis, Schalk Brits, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Heinke van der MerweTweet