Skipper Jean de Villiers has been left out of a 31-man South Africa squad for a 2015 Rugby Championship match in Australia.
The 34-year-old centre will continue his remarkable recovery from a career-threatening knee injury by turning out for Western Province instead in Currie Cup warm-up games.
Who would have thought Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, would be back so soon https://t.co/leraIK9BKt
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) July 12, 2015
De Villiers played this weekend for the first time since being injured against Wales last November, coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes of a 46-10 Springboks’ triumph over a World XV.
The decision to keep De Villiers at home was planned and he will likely return to the Test arena when South Africa host Argentina on August 8 in Durban.
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Semesa Rokoduguni is set for the second phase of an eventful pre-World Cup journey this weekend after being given a chance to relaunch his England career.
The Fiji-born Bath wing initially missed out on a place in England’s 50-man World Cup training squad, but David Strettle’s decision to take up early residency in France with new club Clermont Auvergne created an opportunity for Rokoduguni.
He was back in Fiji on holiday when the call came, and after an initial training camp at England’s Surrey base, he will now jet off to Colorado with a 45-player England group and hope to earn a place in Stuart Lancaster’s final 31-man World Cup party.
Rokoduguni, who is currently on a sabbatical from the British Army, made a high-profile Test debut against world champions New Zealand at Twickenham last November. Injury then contributed to him drifting out of contention, and he presently remains a member of international rugby’s one-cap club.
Rokoduguni has revealed that his military experience helped him after he fell out of contention following the thrill of a debut against Richie McCaw’s All Blacks.
He said: “It has been one of those journeys. Everything was happening, and then suddenly there was a pause. It has been really frustrating, but coming back into the squad has been exciting.
“It is similar to what we do in military training – the mental side to deal with setbacks. We are taught to be flexible at all times, and this was useful for this situation.”
With England opening their World Cup campaign against Fiji at Twickenham on September 18, Rokoduguni could find himself in the frame to face the land of his birth.
South Africa launch a five-match countdown to the Rugby World Cup today with coach Heyneke Meyer praising debutant centre Jesse Kriel.
After a season playing at full-back for Northern Bulls, the 21-year-old gets his big chance wearing the No13 shirt against a World XV at Newlands stadium in Cape Town.
– RWC: England trim cup squad to 45
The only mild disappointment for the exciting runner is that caps will not be awarded as the match is not considered a Test.
“Jesse is an unbelievably exciting player and I have always rated him highly,” said Meyer, a coach not prone to false praise.
“He is probably among the most talented players I have coached and this is a great opportunity for him. I think he could go on to become one of the best outside centres South Africa has produced. Jesse has got acceleration that you do not often see.”