South African Rugby
Meyer buoyed by Boks training camps
May 3, 2012
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has talked up his squad's potential ahead of their three-Test series with England next month.
Speaking at the conclusion of his third and final planning camp, Meyer heaped praise on the country's leading players for their attitude and hinted that veteran centre Jean de Villiers may skipper the side during the eagerly-awaited three-Test series.
Meyer has cast his eye over a total of 104 players over three training camps - including some members of the South Africa U20s squad - with the latest gathering in Cape Town drawing to a close on Thursday.
"I was really very happy with the attitude and willingness shown by the players at the three camps," said Meyer. "To me it's very important that players want to play for South Africa and to see how eager our players are to wear the Green and Gold really impressed me.
"I know the value of taking a break, especially during a tough competition like Super Rugby, but these guys all got stuck in and didn't hesitate for a moment when they were asked to attend."
Meyer was also grateful to the work being done at Super Rugby level by the coaches of the Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Sharks and Stormers. "Their franchises also helped us a lot and I can't thank them enough for allowing us the time with the players," he said. "To go into the series against England with the amount of base work we've done, is something I didn't foresee and it gives me a great deal of confidence for next month.
"It was always going to be a big ask to start from scratch with less than a week before we face the English, but these camps helped a lot in allaying some of the concerns I've had."
The identity of the Springboks captain remains unclear although Meyer revealed that Stormers stalwart Jean de Villiers had made a significant impression on him. "I have been impressed with all the franchise captains, there seems to be a lot of good leadership in this country at the moment," Meyer told Supersport.
"A lot of the experienced guys have gone down injured and there isn't much time before the first England Test so for the series against England it will be a short-term appointment. But I will have to pick somebody who I can trust and who shares my philosophy and is an extension of myself on the playing field. I want someone with the right character and necessary rugby intelligence.
"I don't want this to be taken out of context, and I will only make a decision and an announcement in the build-up to the England Test, but I have been particularly impressed with Jean de Villiers. I didn't know him before and this is my first exposure to him, but he is a strong leader. I have been impressed with the way he has led and organised the Stormers backline."
Meanwhile, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) have also confirmed that negotiations with five more members of Meyer's chosen management team had been concluded. Meyer's assistant coaches were confirmed as Johann van Graan (forwards), Ricardo Loubscher (backs) and John McFarland (defence). Basil Carzis has been appointed as conditioning coach and Ian Schwartz will be the team manager.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.