Stormers hooker Schalk Brits is still training with the Springbok squad, despite missing selection for the three rugby Test matches in June.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that wing JP Pietersen and injured flanker Schalk Burger also remained with the 30-man group on Thursday, even through they won’t play against Wales and Italy.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has only two hookers in his squad – captain John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis.
It therefore makes sense to have a third hooker on standby, one who knows the lineout calls, in case one of the others is injured.
“The coach will decide how long Brits will remain with the squad,” the Springboks’ spokesperson, Chris Hewitt, said when the squad trained at Stellenbosch on Thursday.
“Burger will stay with the team until he has recovered from his injury and will then join in immediately.”
De Villiers had earlier expressed concern over Pietersen’s conditioning. The Sharks wing was in South Africa’s starting lineup in the World Cup final last year but has shown disappointing form this year.
Judged on Thursday’s practice session, De Villiers plans to have Tonderai Chavhanga on the right wing in the starting lineup against Wales in Bloemfontein next Saturday.
Conrad Jantjes was at fullback, Bryan Habana on the left wing and Jean de Villiers and Frans Steyn at centre.
Will pose a strong challenge
Adrian Jacobs, who had picked up a minor hamstring problem earlier this week, did not train with the others.
Ricky Januarie and Butch James were the halfbacks, with Luke Watson, Juan Smith and Pierre Spies forming the loose-forward combination.
Danie Rossouw and Andries Bekker were at lock after Bakkies Botha had gone home to attend to a personal matter. However, Botha is available for next Saturday’s match and is likely to be joined by his long-time partner Victor Matfield against the Welsh.
The two are regarded as the best lock-forward pair in the world.
Brian Mujati seems likely to make his Test debut at tighthead prop next week, with Gurthö Steenkamp on the other side of Smit in the front row.
Steenkamp could be given the opportunity to take over the No 1 jersey after Os du Randt’s retirement but Tendai Mtawarira and CJ van der Linde will pose a strong challenge.
The coaching staff tried out several combinations on Thursday and the team that trained together should be seen only as one of their options.
The practice was the last one of the training camp. The players are now going home and will reassemble in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
The Welsh are scheduled to arrive in Cape Town on Friday and will train here until they leave for Bloemfontein next Friday.
After the first Test, they will fly to Johannesburg to prepare for the Test at Loftus Versfeld.Tweet