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Allister Coetzee

Coetzee yet to finalise his starting lineup

New Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will be looking for pointers on the training ground this week to help him finalise his Test team to face Ireland in the Castle Lager Incoming Series starting in Cape Town on 11 June.

Coetzee told rugby journalists in Stellenbosch on Sunday that he was still undecided about the composition of his best XV.

“It is going to be a balancing act,” said Coetzee.

The first criterion would be fitness.

“Even if a player has 100 caps and he’s not medically fit, he won’t be selected,’ said Coetzee.

“This week [at training] will give me a chance to see how quickly players grasp what we’re trying to get through and the way we want to play. I’ll base my selections on that.

“The one thing I’m pleased about is that all 31 players have pushed my hand to select them.”

The squad started their week-long camp on Sunday at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) in the university town.

Coetzee said the next few days were crucial for team building.

“It’s important that we become one as a team, to gel as quickly as possible,” said Coetzee. “We need to become effective in the way we run things. Players arrived here straight after playing Super Rugby on Saturday so we don’t have much time at our disposal.

“But we must make sure that when we start out on the training field we’re ready for effective training.”

The three overseas-based Boks, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Steven Kitshoff, will report for duty next week.

“According to the international plan, the overseas players can report to the camp only five days before a Test,” Coetzee explained.

There are no serious injuries in the squad although flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who is nursing a sore hand, won’t be ready for the first Test.

“The players are stiff and sore. The weekend’s derbies were tough and physical,” said Coetzee.

But there was “a hype and buzz around the team. I like the way we assembled today.”

The South African A side and their coach, Johan Ackermann, will spend a few days in camp with the Boks.

“We will be working together because I made the point that the A side will be the feeder side to the Springboks. If a player doesn’t make it into the Boks he could still play at a higher level {with the A side].”

The Springboks will remain in Stellenbosch until Friday before checking in to their Cape Town hotel on Sunday.

Africa News Agency

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