Schalk still sidelined

Schalk Burger’s calf injury kept him out of training again while two other Springboks also weren’t present in Pretoria.

It is the same niggle that ruled Burger out of the final couple of rounds of the Super 14 as he played no part in the practice at Tukkies on a warm and clear day.

Six players – plus the missing Bulls – sat out on Monday, but Jean de Villiers, Andries Bekker and JP Pietersen all recovered from their ailments.

Adi Jacobs is still struggling with flu, while Beast Mtawarira was testing himself on an intellectual level as he wrote an economics exam on Tuesday morning. Mtawarira is completing his B Comm through Unisa and will join up with the squad from Tuesday afternoon.

Springbok communications manager Anthony McKaiser told keo.co.za the extent of Burger and Jacobs’s ailments will be released later.

The Boks placed a heavy emphasis on the tactical use of the boot, with newly appointed kicking coach Percy Montgomery’s value to the squad already apparent. All the backs were encouraged to use both weak and strong feet in order to hone their skills in an area that will be crucial come the British & Irish Lions series.

Montgomery also assisted goal-kickers Peter Grant, Earl Rose and Meyer Bosman as the trio attempted shots at goal. The backs also worked on their running and support lines, with Grant positioned the majority of the time at pivot ahead of Rose.

The pack were hampered by the presence of just two props (John Smit and Wian du Preez), but much work was still done on the timing of the scrum-hit as well as the lineout.

With the abolition of collapsing the maul, forwards coach Gary Gold also had the pack getting used to using the drive as a weapon off the set-piece again.

On a lighter note, head coach Peter de Villiers gave a motivational talk to the South African netball side, who were also training at the High Performance Centre ahead of their Tri-Nations series against Fiji and Botswana.

‘We’ve talked about bringing the two sports closer together,’ said netball coach Carin Strauss. ‘Peter just gave us some inspirational words ahead of Wednesday’s match, and said he’d come watch.’

The Springbok team to face a Namibian XV in Windhoek on Friday night will be named on Wednesday afternoon, and injury-permitting, all 23 players will be used in the practice match.

By Grant Ball, in Pretoria