The Springboks have confirmed that prop Thomas du Toit and lock RG Snyman will not be available for selection for the remainder of the Rugby Championship in Australia.
The Springbok squad arrived in Australia this past weekend and are currently in ‘managed isolation’, with players and staff being able to move between their hotel rooms and training facilities.
On Tuesday, though, it was announced that Du Toit had returned to South Africa due to a family bereavement, while the Boks will also be without Snyman, who was unable to make the trip to Australia due to personal reasons.
With an expanded squad on tour and due to the time-consuming process of calling up a replacement with team members set to undergo a strict Covid-19 testing regime in South Africa and a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in Australia before being able to train, coach Jacques Nienaber opted against calling up replacements, which means there are now 41 players on tour.
With the Boks scheduled to face the Wallabies in Gold Coast and Brisbane on 12 and 18 September, respectively, followed by Tests against the All Blacks in Townsville on 25 September and Gold Coast on 2 October, Nienaber says his charges are fully focused on the task at hand.
“The Rugby Championship is a tough competition,” he explained.
“It features the best teams in the southern hemisphere, so we are expecting tight matches. We missed out on the Rugby Championship last year, so it is exciting to play in the Sanzaar group again, and it will be good to measure where we are against the southern-hemisphere teams.”
Nienaber added: “If one looks at Australia and New Zealand’s style of play, there are a lot of similarities. They play a fast game with continuity and they chase ball in play, and when something is on, they’ll play it. But they can also play a territory game when it gets slower.”
Nienaber was delighted that the Boks could return to full training on Tuesday after the South Africans and Argentina were forced to self-isolate in their rooms from Sunday night to Monday evening following a false positive Covid-19 test.
“We had Covid-19 tests on Saturday, and we got the results on Sunday evening, which is when we were informed that there could be a possible positive test,” the Bok coach said.
“A new test was conducted which returned a negative result, but we had to self-isolate in our rooms for almost a day until we received the result. Fortunately, we were able to return to our rugby programme on Tuesday, and we had two good field sessions and a morning gym session.”
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images