The South African Rugby Union went on confrontational attack this morning as the best form of defence of the alleged Springbok training camp in Rustenburg that is running concurrently with the Tri-Nations tour to Australia and New Zealand.
In fact, CEO Jurie Roux angrily denied that there is a training camp at all, telling a packed media conference at the Springbok hotel in the New Zealand capital that it was merely a gathering of injured players who are being collectively rehabilitated.
Rouz, who was in Australia last week for broadcasting meetings and in New Zealand this week for a Sanzar conference, sat on the right of coach Peter de Villiers at the conference to announce the team and when the predictable first question was about the “Rustenburg 21”, he began a defence that was initially measured but by the end of the conference had developed into full-scale attack, which culminated thus: “I am not denying that they are in Rustenburg, I am denying that there is a secret training camp. I have got my players in a single high performance entity being rehabilitated,” he said. “That is it, but you (the kiwi media) want me to say that I am running a separate Springbok team and have sent a B team here.
“Well, I would like to cut the cast off Schalk Burger’s finger, I would like Andries Bekker to not need an operation, I would like all of them to be uninjured, but they are injured and being rehabilitated, so what do you want me to do? I am not a miracle worker,” he exclaimed.
Roux, a Stellenbosch accountant by trade, then raised eyebrows with his response to a local reporter who said he had merely been seeking clarification of what was going on.
“It is a unique thing to me that people are worried about this at all. I run a multi-million rand corporation where my biggest asset is my players. I need to do something to get them all ready for the World Cup and that means the best medical attention in the best environment for the injured.
“This is a simple thing and if I was not doing it, I would need to come to New Zealand to look for a job, which is the last thing I want to do,” he said.
A cocker-hoop De Villiers gleefully added: “And I won’t come with you!”
Roux concluded: “What do you with injured players? You don’t send them to Bali or Mauritius to have a holiday, you put them into a high performance centre to get the best possible rehabilitation – I don’t understand the confusion and why there is this conspiracy theory.”
It was pointed out to the CEO that the “training camp” stories emanated from South Africa not New Zealand.
“That is perception and confusion coming from the media, and you can’t believe everything you hear in the media,” Roux said.
It was just about forgotten that Roux was there to announce the Springbok team.
The only surprise was that Morne Steyn was named at 10 and not 15, where he has run this week with Patrick Lambie doing the duties at 10. Oh well maybe it is all part of a cunning plan and Lambie will in fact do most of the attacking from flyhalf and Steyn and his boot will be there for the defence.
The expected changes see Gerhard Mostert making his debut for injured Flip van der Merwe; flank Jean Deysel coming in for axed Ashley Johnson, with Danie Rossouw moving to No 8.
In a tactical switch in the centres, Juan de Jongh moves to No 12 and Adi Jacobs starts at outside centre with Wynand Olivier dropping to the bench.
Lambie replaces injured Gio Aplon and Odwa Ndungane is promoted to the bench.
Springboks: 15 Morne Steyn 14 Bjorn Basson 13 Adrian Jacobs 12 Juan de Jongh 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Patrick Lambie 9 Ruan Pienaar 8 Danie Rossouw 7 Deon Stegmann 6 Jean Deysel 5 Alistair Hargreaves 4 Gerhard Mostert 3 Werner Kruger 2 John Smit (capt) 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der linde, Ryan Kankowski, Ashley Johnson, Charl McLeod, Wynand Olivier, Odwa Ndungane.
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