The South African training squad’s match against a Namibian XV in Windhoek will lose value for Springbok coach Peter de Villiers if top players withdraw.
Hendrik Cronje reports for sport24.co.za:
The Sharks, Cheetahs and Western Province appear to be the main culprits ahead of the match.
The Sharks want an insurance policy of half a million rand to release scrumhalf Rory Kockott for the match.
Kockott, who wasn’t selected by De Villiers as part of the Springboks’ plans, is a key player in the Sharks’ Currie Cup plans.
The match in Windhoek presents an excellent opportunity for De Villiers to see if Kockott could hold his own against fellow No 9s like Ricky Januarie and Jano Vermaak.
Another reason why the Namibian XV has not been finalised is that the Cheetahs Rugby Union informed their Namibian counterparts via e-mail on Thursday that five of their players will not be available to take part in the match.
Meyer Bosman (centre), David de Villiers, Nico Breedt (both locks), Richardt Strauss (hooker) and Kobus Calldo (prop) will instead be busy preparing with their Cheetahs team-mates for the encounter against the British and Irish Lions on June 6.
Western Province also indicated that Duane Vermeulen (flank) and Tonderai Chavhanga (wing) won’t be making the trip to Windhoek.
“Duane is still injured and Tonderai is still nursing his hamstring injury,” said Western Province Rugby CEO, Rob Wagner.
“No player (in the WP team), who played in the Super 14, will be available. They have to be ready for our friendly match on June 6 and our encounter with the British and Irish Lions on June 13. We wrote a letter two days ago notifying those concerned that Duane and Tonderai won’t be available.”
Promoter of the match, Willem Strauss, has acknowledged that the Namibian team’s plans have been affected by the withdrawals. “It is a setback, but not a crisis,” said Strauss.
He added that he’s already talking to possible replacements. The names of former Springboks Marco Wentzel and Danie Coetzee have been mentioned. Coetzee has already agreed to fly to Windhoek for the match.
Strauss hopes to announce the final squad of players on Friday.
Star players like Derick Hougaard (flyhalf), Jaco van der Westhuyzen (fullback) and Kees Lensing (captain and prop) will still play for the Namibian XV.
Strauss also went to great lengths to stress that the condition of the field for the match is in outstanding condition.Tweet