Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Springboks to step up preparations ahead of Test season

The year's first Test for the world champions, against Wales, is now just a month away.

The Springboks are set to ramp up their preparations for their forthcoming international Test season when they gather for their second in-person alignment camp of the year, scheduled for Cape Town on Wednesday and Thursday.

The year’s first Test – against Wales in London on June 22 – is now just a month away. Coach Rassie Erasmus will lead the camp which will comprise of 38 players.

The season’s first alignment camp was in March, which was followed by a series of online sessions with groups of players.

No Sharks players who’re involved in Friday’s Challenge Cup final against Gloucester in London will participate in the camp. Among the players who’ll thus be absent are Bongi Mbonambi, Vincent Koch, Ox Nche, Eben Etzebeth, Grant Williams, Makazole Mapimpi and possible also Aphelele Fassi and even new flyhalf sensation Siya Masuku.

‘Deeper dive’

The Bok coaching team took part in a coaching and planning camp last weekend, laying the foundation for this week’s players camp.

“We are moving into a new cycle as a group as our first Test is only a few weeks away, so it is vital that we start diving deeper into our on-field planning,” said Erasmus.

“In the first two camps we presented our wider plans to the players and introduced the new ideas presented by all the coaches and especially the new additions to the coaching team in Tony Brown, Jerry Flannery and Jaco Peyer, so we are in a good position to start zooming into different areas of the game in more detail.”

Erasmus added: “With our first Test around the corner it will be great to have everyone together and ensure that the coaches and players are 100% aligned in terms of what we want to achieve and how we plan to approach the season.

“We have a challenging year lined up as the Test against Wales falls outside of the international window, and then we play two Tests against Ireland, the second-ranked team in the world, and our first Test against Portugal in the Incoming Series.

“We then move on to the Rugby Championship which kicks off with back-to-back away Tests against Australia, followed by two Tests against New Zealand in South Africa, and two matches against Argentina, away and at home.

“Our Outgoing Tour will also serve as a thorough test with matches against Scotland, England and Wales lined up, so the sooner we are aligned as a group, the better.”

Springbok fixtures:

Saturday, 22 June: SA vs Wales (London)
Saturday, 6 July: SA vs Ireland (Pretoria)
Saturday, 13 July: SA vs Ireland (Durban)
Saturday, 20 July: SA vs Portugal (Bloemfontein)
Saturday, 10 August: Australia vs SA (Brisbane)
Saturday, 17 August: Australia vs SA (Perth)
Saturday, 31 August: SA vs New Zealand (Johannesburg)
Saturday, 7 September: SA v New Zealand (Cape Town)
Saturday, 21 September: Argentina v SA (Santiago)
Saturday, 28 September: SA v Argentina (Nelspruit)
Sunday, 10 November: Scotland vs SA (Edinburgh)
Saturday, 16 November: England vs SA (London)
Saturday, 23 November: Wales vs SA (Cardiff)

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Rassie Erasmus Springboks (Bokke/Boks)