Deon Fourie during a springbok training session. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
- Old and young Springbok team rookies took their chance to shine in the media spotlight on Thursday.
- The particular but refreshing locker room format used at the meet and greet allowed players to sit with the media.
- The 43-man Springbok squad for the Wales Test series is teeming with young talent among the bright minds in the group.
The newcomers to the Springbok roster, young and old, had a fairly smooth but unsettling start to their media duties at Thursday’s meet-and-greet in Pretoria.
The likes of Deon Fourie might have been around, but the excitement of being on a Bok team ahead of a Test series never gets old.
At 35, most of Fourie’s peers are turning to pasture. In fact, the ace fetcher of his day Heinrich Brussow retired from rugby almost three years ago.
Fourie, whose face has partially recovered from the three consecutive ruck wars that played a crucial role in Stormers capturing the United Rugby Championship title on Saturday, said he felt his age in his legs this week.
“We train a little harder here and I definitely felt it in my legs. It wasn’t even the toughest day of the week,” Fourie said to hearty laughter from the audience.
“It’s a privilege to work with all these guys and all these great players. They just seem to be working harder.”
The other uncapped players in the squad were eights Elrigh Louw and Evan Roos, loosehead prop on the rise Ntuthuko Mchunu and hard-working lock Salmaan Moerat.
Louw might have been second best in last week’s No. 8 fight against Roos in the finals, but he put that away in his memory to focus on lessons from Bok captain Siya Kolisi and Kwagga Smith.
“Being able to learn from some guys like Siya and Kwagga is a great opportunity,” said Louw.
“Nevertheless, there is still a lot to learn but I will make very good use of the time I have here while I feel that from a learning perspective the URC is a great stepping stone.”
That Mchunu found his way into the Bok group despite the abundance of loosehead props speaks volumes for his accelerated development.
Like a certain Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, Mchunu was an explosive loose forward who turned support.
Mchunu’s franchise, the Sharks, were knocked out by the Bulls in the URC Quarterfinals, but he was happy to be in Bok camp.
“The Sharks may have lost in the quarterfinals, but we got to that stage and that was good,” Mchunu said.
“It’s been a good time here and I’ve learned so much by being here over the last two and a half weeks. It opened my eyes.”
Young and Old: Springbok Squad newbies dive into the Bok experience after the grueling URC
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