The first camp will take place from Wednesday 17 to Friday 19 May, with the second camp running from Monday 29 to Wednesday 31 May. Fifteen players have been invited, but the group excludes players from the DHL Stormers, who are preparing for the Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-final this weekend.
The Boks will begin their official preparations for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at a training camp in Pretoria from Monday 12 to Friday 30 June, with the team slotting into Test-match mode the following week for their opening match of the southern hemisphere showpiece against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 8 July.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s charges will then depart for New Zealand for their second Test of the condensed version of the competition against the All Blacks at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland (15 July), before returning to South Africa for the closing match of the competition against Argentina in Johannesburg (29 July).
The composition of the squad for the camps will include a group of 15 players from local Vodacom URC teams – some of whom are recovering from injuries – and a few Japanese-based players who have also completed their club commitments. Several other locally selected players might join the camps after completing their Vodacom URC commitments.
“With the Vodacom United Rugby Championship nearing an end and the Castle Lager Rugby Championship around the corner we decided to host two camps to get the ball rolling and get everyone on the same page for the international season,” said Nienaber.
“The camps will include both off and on-field sessions and they will offer us a great opportunity to get the building blocks in place for our first full-on training camp in June in preparation for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship in July.
“These camps will build on those we hosted in Cape Town and Stellenbosch respectively at the end of February and March, which included a bunch of locally based players.”
Nienaber added that with a little over four months to go before the World Cup kicks off, every day with the players would count: “The Castle Lager Rugby Championship is around the corner, and then we have three warm-up games and the World Cup, so we have very little time to get all our plans in place and ensure we peak in terms of our performance to give us the best possible chance to defend our title in France.
“This is a crucial season, and it is imperative that we make important strides in each match we play and grow stronger together as team.”
Players invited to Springbok camps (in alphabetical order): Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Kurt-Lee Arendse (Vodacom Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Thomas du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Jaden Hendrikse, Siya Kolisi (all Cell C Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Makazole Mapimpi, Bongi Mbonambi (both Cell C Sharks), Canan Moodie (Vodacom Bulls), Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Marco van Staden (Vodacom Bulls), Grant Williams (Cell C Sharks).
Springbok 2023 fixtures:
Castle Lager Rugby Championship:
Saturday, 8 July – Springboks vs Australia (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)
Saturday, 15 July – Springboks vs New Zealand (Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland)
Saturday, 29 July – Springboks vs Argentina (Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg)
RWC warm-up fixtures:
Saturday, 5 August – Springboks v Argentina (Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires)
Saturday, 19 August – Springboks vs Wales (Principality Stadium, Cardiff)
Friday, 25 August – Springboks vs New Zealand (Twickenham, London)
Sunday, 10 September – Springboks v Scotland (Stade Marseille, Marseille)
Sunday, 17 September – Springboks v Romania (Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)
Saturday, 23 September – Springboks v Ireland (Stade de France, Paris)
Sunday, 1 October – Springboks v Tonga (Stade Marseille, Marseille)
Weekend of 14/15 October – Quarter-finals
Weekend of 21/22 October – Semi-finals
Saturday, 28 October – Final