|Experienced prop Beast Mtawarira, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach and promising utility back Curwin Bosch are part of a large contingent Cell C Sharks players included in the extended Springbok squad for their second training camp, from 2 to 4 April in Stellenbosch.
The Durban-based players were not considered for the first training camp, held last month in Johannesburg, because of overseas travel commitments at the start of the Vodacom Super Rugby competition.
The second of three training camps – which are part of the Springboks’ preparation plans for the forthcoming international season – will take place at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport. South Africa will host France in a three-match Castle Lager Incoming Series in June, before the Castle Lager Rugby Championship gets underway in August.
The Springbok selectors invited a group of 13 Cell Sharks players, 10 each from the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers as well as eight Toyota Cheetahs players to the three-day camp.
There are no players from the Vodacom Bulls or the Southern Kings in the latest training group as these two franchises are in action abroad. As with the first camp, there are also no overseas-based players included amongst the squad list of 41 players, adhering to Regulation 9 of World Rugby. Lock Franco Mostert is not available for this camp as his wife is due to give birth to their first child.
Injured Springboks Pat Lambie, Uzair Cassiem and Ruan Combrinck have been invited to the camp, but injured players such as Damian de Allende and Jean-Luc du Plessis (both DHL Stormers), who made the trip to the previous camp in Johannesburg, are not required to do so again.
Included amongst the 41 players are another five Young Guns, players all under the age of 23 years who have been earmarked as potential future Springboks. They are Ox Nche (prop, Toyota Cheetahs), Wilco Louw (prop, DHL Stormers), Ruan Ackermann (loose forward, Emirates Lions), EW Viljoen (centre, DHL Stormers) and Bosch (flyhalf, Cell C Sharks).
Allister Coetzee, Springbok coach, said he and his coaching staff are looking forward to continue their preparation work with the extended training squad.
“The first camp was very successful and we managed to cover a lot of our planning and training plans with the group that assembled in Johannesburg. We aim to do the same in Stellenbosch,” said Coetzee.
“This group has a different look to it because of the addition of the Cell C Sharks players, while we are not able to call up players from the Vodacom Bulls and the Southern Kings because they will be abroad when the camp takes place.”
With a third camp planned for May, there is still time for players to catch the attention of the selectors, according to Coetzee: “There is still one more camp to follow after Stellenbosch, so we will keep the door open for players who perform in Vodacom Super Rugby.
“The camp provides another opportunity for us to cast the net wider and also to have a closer look at certain positions. There are a couple of new faces in this group who have shown consistently good form. I also want to thank our franchise and conditioning coaches for their continued collaboration and support,” said Coetzee.
During their three day stay in Stellenbosch, the group will undergo medical and conditioning assessments, attend gym and undertake a couple of field training sessions.
Invited players for the second Springbok camp in Stellenbosch (2 – 4 April):
*Indicates Young Guns