The Springboks are keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to the progress of their injured players, but Deon Davids expects Duane Vermeulen to rejoin the squad in the next few weeks.
At an online media conference on Wednesday morning, forwards coach Davids was inevitably asked about the progress of the several injured Springboks.
Munster pair Damian de Allende and RG Snyman are currently continuing their recovery in the UK after sustaining burns in a fire-pit accident.
Meanwhile, Duane Vermeulen is also continuing his rehab after undergoing ankle surgery a couple of weeks ago, while lock Lood de Jager is recovering from a freak training accident in April.
“We know that they are busy with their rehabilitations,” Davids said. “There are ongoing discussions with the medical staff. We know that the UK-based players will join us from Sunday. From there, we will make a thorough assessment.
“In terms of Duane, he is also busy with his rehabilitation. He is in contact in terms of how the progress is going. We are also expecting him to join our group in the next few weeks and we are looking forward to having him part of the squad, whether his contribution is off the field or on it. We would like him to share his experience with us with our preparation going forward into this series.”
Davids was asked to shed some light on the Bok coaching staff’s thinking around the No 8 position, especially as Vermeulen won’t be available for the two Tests against Georgia, which get under way next Friday.
The other loose forwards in the squad who can play at No 8 include Kwagga Smith, who has spent most of the past Japanese season at the back of the scrum, Jasper Wiese and Dan du Preez.
Davids was emphatic about Du Preez, who had a solid outing and scored a try in the Sale Sharks’ loss to the Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership semi-finals this past weekend.
“At this stage, we have a very open mindset in terms of our approach,” Davids explained. “As has been mentioned, we have got a couple of options available. During our training sessions, we have shifted players around and tested the different combinations.
“In terms of options, we have got Kwagga. There is also a new guy like Jasper Wiese. Dan du Preez has played Test-match rugby and has been in outstanding form and had a great game last week. So, we will do a thorough assessment of our loose forwards available and hopefully we will have a clear understanding come Sunday and Monday in terms of what we want to do over the next two games against Georgia.”
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