Albert makes the calls

Sharks lock Albert van den Berg will organise the Springbok line-outs during their end-of-year tour.

Van den Berg assumes the role from Victor Matfield (who is being rested) and along with Johann Muller and Danie Rossouw, is working on a plan to counter Ireland’s line-out jumpers Malcolm O’Kelly, Paul O’Connell and Donncha O’Callaghan.

Speaking to Beeld newspaper, Van den Berg said Matfield continued to have an influence on the set piece even though he wasn’t with the squad.

“Thanks to Victor, we have acquired a number of line-out options during the past few years,” he told De Jongh Borchardt. “We realise the Irish have a fine line-out and it won’t be easy to oppose them. But, we have enough options to make life difficult for them as well.

“In addition to the locks, we have some good jumpers among the loose forwards. A player such as Juan Smith can be well used. We are spending enough time together to get to know each other well. By the time we arrive in Ireland, our line-out will be ready.”

In other team news, captain John Smit missed training on Tuesday because “he’s on a specific gym programme”, according to coach Jake White. Smit earlier this week admitted he’d played the bulk of the Test season with a groin injury and that it had impacted negatively on his performances.

André Pretorius (flu), CJ van der Linde (hamstring) and Johann Ackermann (thigh) also missed the practice.