Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has announced that the Springbok squad will be trimmed to 24 players over the weekend and the squad to contest the remaining matches of the Tri-Nations will eventually be 22 players strong.
News 24 reports that the 30-man Springbok squad was reduced to 28 when Peter Grant and Ryan Kankowski were forced to withdraw due to shoulder injuries.
“We are playing at home which make any additional call-up easier to manage, so this presents us with an opportunity to release some of the players to their respective provinces for the Absa Currie Cup,” explained De Villiers.
De Villiers again stressed that the Springboks will not treat Argentina lightly when the two teams meet next Saturday in the Mandela Challenge Test at Coca-Cola Park (previously Ellis Park) in Johannesburg.
He said the Tribute Test provides his team with the perfect opportunity to work on some aspects of their game plan ahead of their crucial Vodacom Tri-Nations fixtures against the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
Ralepelle at hooker
“Argentina is a quality side and they are especially strong at set pieces, which will be a good test for us. This match will help us tremendously in our preparation for the All Blacks and the Wallabies,” De Villiers added.
Meanwhile, the Springboks had another good field session at the Tukkies Rugby Ground. An interesting participant at training was the Blue Bulls young Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, who was asked to stand-in for Bismarck du Plessis. Ralepelle is not part of the current squad.
“We called Chiliboy because we did not want to risk Bismarck, who sat out the training session because of a sore calf. The decision was for none other than precaution as we have a tough month ahead of us,” said De Villiers.
The Springboks will enjoy a training-free day on Friday and the squad will instead participate in the annual sponsors’ golf day at Pebble Rock on the outskirts of Pretoria. On Saturday they travel to Secunda for the popular Sasol Fan day, which includes field training and a signing session.
The team transfers to Johannesburg on Sunday to continue preparations for the Mandela Challenge against Argentina.Tweet