Bok bolters to face tourists?

Peter de Villiers has hinted there could be some fresh faces for the Springboks during the Lions series.

Speaking in reaction to the British & Irish Lions squad announcement, Bok coach De Villiers said the Boks’ preparations could be hampered with both the Sharks and Bulls in line for the Super 14 play-offs. He also added that some additions could be introduced to the Bok squad.

‘We have kept a close watch on the Super 14 and particularly the players that have formed part of our core group over the past 18 months,’ said De Villiers.’We may look at a few newcomers based on the consistency of performances this season.

‘There are a few injury concerns presently but we expect that all of the leading contenders will be fit when we assemble in June. We have not yet confirmed the date for our squad announcement as we have to consider the possibility of our having a team in the Super 14 final on 30 May,’ he said.

‘One of our main concerns at this stage is the possibility of us having a team or teams in the semi-finals or final of the Super 14 which has to travel to Australasia.’

‘Regardless of which teams SA teams might be involved in the Super 14 final, the practice match against a Namibian Invitation XV will go ahead in Windhoek on 29 May.’

Now that the 37 Lions have been named, De Villiers said this would help in assessing the northern hemisphere players.

‘I am looking forward to the Test series,’ said De Villiers. ‘Now that we know the make-up of the Lions squad we will be able to advance our preparations in terms of our analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, how we expect them to play and how we must prepare for the three Tests.

‘A Lions tour is always a momentous occasion and 2009 will be no different. Our guys know the magnitude of the task that lies ahead and they know the expectation that there is, especially in view of the disappointments of 1997.’