World Cup Boks likely to be back only in December
No break for lock Marvin Orie who already played for his new French club Perpignan over the weekend
With away results not going their way, South African franchises are keen to get their Springboks back in action as soon as possible after the World Cup victory, but the reality is that many may only be back in December, and likely ready for the opening weekend of European rugby.
Franchises were told that World Cup players, who only finished their trophy tour this past weekend, would be given an enforced three-week rest, before being available for their franchises.
The trophy tour counts as the first week. Players now have two weeks to rest before rejoining their franchises.
But with South African teams struggling in the opening rounds, as all four sides are overseas, there is a call to see these Boks back in action.
The Hollywoodbet Sharks are without a win after three games overseas, while the Vodacom Bulls became the first South African team to win abroad last weekend. The DHL Stormers won in Johannesburg at home, before going down to Glasgow Warriors.
The earliest that teams will get their players back is round six of the competition, the weekend of November 24-26, just two weeks before the first round of both the Champions’ Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup.
Stormers coach John Dobson has already said that with his team still on tour that weekend, they will probably bring back their Springboks only in December, when it is expected they will be phased into the team in round seven, before reaching full strength for their opening Champions’ Cup game on December 9 and 10.
The Bulls are in a similar position, though coach Jake White said much would depend on the way they advanced in the rest of their tour games, after picking up a win at Zebre Parma on Saturday.
The Bulls will have the likes of Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Marco van Staden available and the plan is to have them firing by the time they take on Saracens on December 10 at Loftus Versfeld.
“Obviously we cannot wait to have that energy of the Springboks. You can imagine coming back from winning a World Cup, the kind of energy and enthusiasm they’ll bring to our squad,” White said after the Zebre win.
“But what is also nice is the guys who are playing in the positions that those players can play, are also playing really well and that’s always nice as a coach when you’ve got so many more opportunities to sort of change your team around.
“Who knows, maybe we might leave the Boks out. They’ve got a compulsory three-week time off, and then when we get back, they’ll join our squad. If we’ve got momentum, I might give them another week off.”
What is most likely is that their form and individual requirements may be key to their return. Bok lock RG Snyman may miss a fair portion of the season for champions Munster, as he will undergo shoulder surgery for an injury picked up in the World Cup win.
The Sharks are probably the side who would want their Boks back as soon as possible, given their start to the tournament. The likes of Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams, Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am and Makazole Mapimpi would make a big difference to the side, given the form they displayed in the opening three rounds of the URC.
The fate of the overseas-based Springboks is in the hands of their clubs as the enforced rest only applies to South African franchises, and depending on the situation at every club, the rest period is likely to be different, or not apply at all.
Springbok lock Marvin Orie, for instance, missed out on the trophy tour as he went to join his new club Perpignan and played this weekend in the side’s win over Toulon in the French Top 14. — SuperSport.com
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