SOUTH AFRICA Rugby Union chief executive Jurie Roux has angrily rejected reports a secret training camp is under way involving 21 'injured' front-line Springboks players.
It comes after coach Peter de Villiers announced his team to face the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday night.
Various South African media outlets have reported that a large group of front-line Boks are being put through their paces in Rustenburg under former Boks Rassie Erasmus and Percy Montgomery while a second-string team plays Tri Nations matches in Australia and New Zealand.
De Villiers denied those reports when the team arrived in the New Zealand capital yesterday and Roux was singing off the same song sheet when the team to face the All Blacks was announced this afternoon.
“I'm not denying they're in Rustenberg. I'm denying the fact there is a secret training camp. I've got my players being rehabilitated, that's it,” he told a packed press conference.
“I would like all those guys to be un-injured but they're injured and they're busy being rehabilitated. I'm not a doctor or a miracle worker.”
Roux wouldn't specify how many of the 21 players were at the camp, but insisted they were all injured.
"It's very simple. It's a unique thing to me that people are worried about this at all. I run a multimillion-rand corporation where my biggest assets are my players. They're injured so I need to do something to get them ready for the World Cup, and get them in an environment.
"What do you do with an injured player? You don't send him to Bali on holiday, you put him into your high-performance centre with the best doctor you can find and you put him a programme to rehab and get back to the World Cup. I don't understand the conspiracy, I don't understand the confusion.”
De Villiers has made four changes to his starting XV for the match at Westpac Stadium.
Uncapped lock Gerhard Mostert replaces Flip van der Merwe (rib), Sharks flanker Jean Deysel comes in for a benched Ashley Johnson, centre Adi Jacobs is promoted from the bench for the experienced Wynand Olivier who drops to the reserves, and fullback Patrick Lambie replaces the injured Gio Aplon (back/shoulder).
“People may have forgotten that I included Gerhard in my first training squad in 2008 but he has been struggling with different injuries over the past few seasons,” says De Villiers.
“He came back strongly for the Sharks this season and now circumstances have given him an opportunity to show what he can do.
“Pat Lambie also gets his first start and this too is his chance to demonstrate the ability we know he has at test level. It’s a tough challenge for both of them and the rest of the young players but they have a chance to do something special here.”
Springboks: Patrick Lambie, Bjorn Basson, Adi Jacobs, Juan de Jongh, Lwazi Mvovo, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Danie Rossouw, Jean Deysel, Deon Stegmann, Alistair Hargreaves, Gerhard Mostert, Werner Kruger, John Smit (captain), Dean Greyling
Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Ryan Kankowski, Ashley Johnson, Charl McLeod, Wynand
This weekend throws up another set of games which could go either way.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?