The Sharks and Western Province are the two unions that will benefit most from the Springboks’ two-week break in Test rugby, as they strengthen their Currie Cup squads with national players.
The Springboks have a two-week break from international action after their 9-16 loss to Australia on Saturday in Perth. Their next Test match will see them take on Argentina at Ellis Park on Saturday, August 9.
Western Province have been struggling badly in the Currie Cup recently, and have lost two consecutive matches to ‘minnows’ Griquas and the Falcons.
Coach Allister Coetzee will be breathing a huge sigh of relief now that he will be able to call on Bolla Conradie and Peter Grant, as well as forwards Brian Mujati and Schalk Brits to boost his side’s ailing fortunes.
The Sharks will also be thrilled with the news that they will be able to call on four Bok players to their camp.
The Durban-based side have been found out recently after losing two out of their last three matches in the Currie Cup.
Their latest defeat was a heavy 9-31 loss at the hands of the Cheetahs, and coach John Plumtree will be desperate to add some Springbok reinforcement to his side. The availability of Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Odwa Ndungane and Ruan Pienaar will be like music to Plumtree’s ears.
Eighthman Ryan Kankowski could also join up with his Sharks team-mates this weekend, but that depends on the player getting medical clearance from the Springbok team doctor.
Bismarck du Plessis will be under suspension until August 3, which means he will not be eligible to play for the Sharks before during the international break.
Adrian Jacobs is still struggling with a hamstring injury, the extent of which should become apparent very soon. Despite that, chances are that Jacobs will be instructed to rest.
John Smit is carrying a long-term groin injury, and is in a race to be fit for the end-of-year Springbok tour.
Free State Cheetahs and Springbok hooker Adriaan Strauss was the first player to be released from Tri-Nations duty on Monday, and will be free to line-up for his province in the Currie Cup series.
Coach of the Free State Cheetahs, Naka Drotské, confirmed to OFM Sport that Strauss would be available for Friday’s clash against the Falcons at Vodacom Park.
Strauss of course made his Springbok debut in the Tri-Nations Test against the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday, a match the Springboks lost 9-16.
Hooker Strauss will most probably replace Jaco du Toit as hooker in the starting line-up of the Cheetahs, with cousin Richardt Strauss likely to sit on the bench as the replacement hooker.
Drotské confirmed he will not rest any of his regular players as the Falcons will be a very difficult team to beat, especially considering their shock 38-32 win over Western Province last Friday.
The Cheetahs will however not have the added luxury of fielding Boks CJ van der Linde and Juan Smith in the Currie Cup, as both players will be resting up for the Springboks’ home leg of the Tri-Nations.
Flank Duanne Vermeulen could also play in his first game, while there is uncertainty over the availability of captain Hendro Scholtz.
The Bok flank injured his shoulder in Free State’s 31-9 win over the Sharks at the weekend.
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke will feel slightly hard done by, as none of the Blue Bulls’ Springboks have been released to play Currie Cup rugby.
Ludeke would have been hopeful of boosting his team with Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield, Pierre Spies and Gürthro Steenkamp, but none of those players have been released for provincial duty by SARU.
Meanwhile, Bok stalwart Schalk Burger is undergoing scans to assess the severity of his neck problem, and he could well be rested.
It is unclear if any of the other Springbok players are allowed to play for their Currie Cup teams.Tweet