Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer expressed his excitement at the upcoming international season as the national planning camp concluded in Durban today (Monday), with less than two weeks to go before the first test of the Castle Incoming Tour 2012 against England.
Meyer said the excitement amongst the players and management was palpable as the first test, on Saturday, June 9 in Durban, draws nearer.
“We managed to get through a heap of very hard work in a very short space of time,” said Meyer. “The players’ attitude at this camp was yet again wonderful and even though many of them came in straight from tough tours and hard Vodacom Super Rugby encounters, they really showed to me how important playing for the Springboks is to them.
“Yet again, we are very grateful to the players as well as their franchises for helping us in this regard. The work we’ve done at the four planning camps has given us a solid base to work from and we’ll hit the ground running when we return to Durban on Sunday to prepare for the first test.”
Forty-one players attended the final camp, with MTN Lions fullback Jaco Taute a late withdrawal following a shoulder injury he sustained in their Vodacom Super Rugby tour match against the Force in Perth last weekend.
Meyer said: “We’ll be watching the final round of Vodacom Super Rugby action this weekend with interest. The derbies in Johannesburg and Pretoria will be huge and we’re expecting nothing but their best from the players, but when we return to Durban on Sunday, it will be as Springboks and we’ll be ready for the challenge posed by England.”
Meyer and his coaching staff watched England’s victory over the Barbarians on Sunday and he said that he is expecting a very tough series against them.
“We have massive respect for England and they will be tough opponents, but we will be ready for them and will work very hard on getting in place how we want to play against them,” said Meyer.
“Their two top clubs played in a final on Saturday and weren’t in action against the Barbarians, which is an indication of their depth.
“Stuart Lancaster is a good coach and he has put together a squad of players that will be keen to impress. I know a number of their players well from my time coaching in England and we realise it will be a hard series.”
The Springbok squad for the Castle Incoming Tour 2012 will be announced following the Vodacom Super Rugby match between the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday evening.