In with the old, out with the new for Springboks
Heyneke Meyer has announced his provisional squad to tour Australia and New Zealand in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship. And it is a case of in with the old and out with the new or younger players.
Victor Matfield, the oldest Springbok, will rejoin the squad. Alongside him will be Willem Alberts should he pass his fitness test on Thursday. This means Warren Whitely will be released to the Golden Lions with Juan Smith remaining the back up for Alberts if needed.
Marcel vd Merwe will replace the injured Frans Malherbe. Malherbe will undergo surgeryn his ankle and probably miss the rest of the season.
“Victor is over his injury and has been declared fit to travel with us for the next two Tests, while we’re awaiting a final verdict on Willem,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“It will be good to have them back. Willem has been part of the squad for the last number of seasons and Victor showed he can still add a lot of value when he returned to the Bok fold earlier this year.
“Losing Frans is a huge setback and my heart bleeds for him, because he’s done well since returning from a long injury lay-off recently which saw him miss the June Tests.
“It’s also a big disappointment for Frans, whose involvement with the squad was cut short because of injury last November as well, but Marcel has been with us before and will slot in seamlessly. He provides specialist tighthead cover as Tendai Mtawarira, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Trevor Nyakane are specialist looseheads.”
Meyer added that Whiteley had impressed him immensely during his week with the Springboks and that Smith had made a massive contribution during his time with the squad in the last fortnight.
“Warren and Juan know exactly where they stand and it was great to work with them, even if it was only for a limited period of time,” said Meyer.
Now we will have to wait and see what the Springboks do on tour.