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Meyer declares Springbok planning camps a success

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James Mortimer     04 May 2012     Getty Images

The first two camps were held in Pretoria, with players from the Cheetahs, Lions; then the Bulls and Sharks.

With members of the South African Under-20 squad attending along with select Investec Super Rugby players, a total of 104 players  hopefuls attended.

Meyer said he was happy with what was his first meetings with players since becoming the new Springboks coach, replacing Peter de Villiers.

“I was really very happy with the attitude and willingness shown by the players at the three camps,” Meyer said.

“To me it’s very important that players want to play for South Africa and to see how eager our players are to wear the Green and Gold really impressed me.

“I know the value of taking a break, especially during a tough competition like Vodacom Super Rugby, but these guys all got stuck in and didn’t hesitate for a moment when they were asked to attend.

“Their franchises also helped us a lot and I can’t thank them enough for allowing us the time with the players. To go into the series against England with the amount of base work we’ve done, is something I didn’t foresee and it gives me a great deal of confidence for next month.

“It was always going to be a big ask to start from scratch with less than a week before we face the English, but these camps helped a lot in allaying some of the concerns I’ve had.”

Meyer is still to name his captain, although at this stage it appears perhaps Stormers centre Jean de Villiers has the inside running.

"One or two guys here impressed me as well, and I must say I’m much more at ease because there are clearly plenty of great leaders out there," he said.

“Please don’t take these words out of context, but I’ve really been impressed with Jean as well."
 
"I’ve been impressed with how he’s organised the backline, and he’s one of the senior players who probably will be available."

He said there was a chance de Villiers could be shifted to centre, with it generally believed that Frans Steyn could be the Springboks second five-eighth, while Bulls midfielder Wynand Olivier was in the frame.

“Jean will probably be back in time, giving us freshness which is a positive, Wynand for instance is playing good rugby at inside centre."
 
“Jean at No 13? That’s a very good question and one I’ve been thinking about. I must pick my words carefully again, as we’re only having our one-on-one this afternoon!

“But I’ve spoken to his fitness and conditioning coach and he told me Jean is probably the quickest he’s been. That’s definitely an option although I haven’t discussed it with the player yet, he runs great lines and has the pace, as I said.”