The 20 contracted Springboks will take no part in the business end of the Currie Cup, instead attending a training camp in Stellenbosch in preparation for the End of Year Tour.
The decision to invite the contracted players to the camp was taken in agreement with the provinces regarding the use of nationally contracted players in the Currie Cup. The players and management will gather at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport on Monday 20 October and remain there until Friday 24 October.
The contracted Springboks are: Willem Alberts (loose forward), Marcell Coetzee (loose forward), Damian de Allende (centre/wing), Jean de Villiers (centre), Bismarck du Plessis (hooker), Jannie du Plessis (prop), JJ Engelbrecht (centre/wing), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Cornal Hendricks (wing), Francois Hougaard (scrumhalf), Siya Kolisi (loose forward), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf/fullback), Willie le Roux (fullback/wing), Victor Matfield (lock), Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop), Jan Serfontein (centre), Adriaan Strauss (hooker), Flip van der Merwe (lock) and Duane Vermeulen (No 8).
Damian de Allende, Cornal Hendricks, Victor Matfield and Jan Serfontein, were added to the list of contracted players during the international season. All the non-contracted Springboks who featured in the Rugby Champs are available to their provinces for the rest of the Currie Cup.
“The Springboks are our first priority and the provinces have been very supportive, which we’re very thankful for,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
The contracted Springboks will thus not be available for the final round of pool matches as well as the Currie Cup play-off rounds.
“While it was impossible to put a blanket ban across all contracted Springboks to play for their provinces, the players utilised in the Rugby Championship were managed on an individual basis and released to play in the Currie Cup as the necessity arose.
“Most of them didn’t play any part in the Currie Cup but there were a couple of cases where players were released and that was done with the agreement and buy-in of all the provinces and SARU.”
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he was very grateful to the provinces for allowing the release of the players for the Stellenbosch camp.
“This week will allow us to work intensely with the core of the squad for the tour in November, which will be a very tough outing with less than a year to go to the Rugby World Cup,” said Meyer.
“The provinces have been very helpful in managing our players and we’d like to thank them for that. This camp will not only provide us with an opportunity to work on conditioning and on-field matters, but also to work with injured players such as Siya Kolisi, Willem Alberts and Flip van der Merwe.”
The 36-man touring squad for the Rugby Championship will be announced on Sunday 26 October and they will get together in Johannesburg for a pre-departure camp on Wednesday 29 October before leaving for Dublin on Saturday 1 November.
The Springboks’ end-of-year tour itinerary includes Tests against Ireland in Dublin (8 November), England in London (15 November), Italy in Padova (22 November) and Wales in Cardiff (29 November).
“The match against Wales falls outside the IRB Test window so our overseas-based players will not be available for that match, which will provide a good test for our depth in South Africa and I’m excited to see what a number of our younger players can do in the Millennium Stadium,” said Meyer.