Springboks duo released from squad
August 10, 2011
Johnson will hope to have his chance to impress for the Cheetahs on Saturday © Getty Images
Springboks back-row duo Ryan Kankowski and Ashley Johnson have been released from the international camp and are free to line up for their clubs in this weekend's Currie Cup.
The duo - who were called up on Monday - were covering fitness concerns over Pierre Spies (groin) and Danie Rossouw (gastroenteritis). However, both players have since recovered from their ailments and took part in training on Tuesday. The pair were then monitored on Wednesday and following their successful completion of the training session the Springboks management decided to release Kankowski and Johnson ahead of their Tri-Nations clash with Australia on Saturday.
Kankowski will hope to line-up for the Sharks in their Currie Cup clash against Western Province while Johnson will aim to be in the Free State Cheetahs squad for their clash with Golden Lions in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile - Springboks lock Victor Matfield believes the senior players in the side have the experience and the nous to compensate to prevent the on-field captaincy being an issue during the forthcoming World Cup.
Question remarks remain over current captain John Smit's place in the side - with hooker Bismarck du Plessis hoping to get the chance to state his claim on Saturday. And Matfield believes the team has enough well-versed players to adapt quickly to whatever is decided over the issue of the on-field captain.
"I do enjoy the leadership responsibility but I don't think it is a big issue in this team because we are so experienced and the guys know each other so well after playing together for such a long time," Matfield said.
"We have been together as a team a long time and we have world-class, experienced players in several key positions. I take charge of the line-outs, Fourie du Preez takes charge of other aspects such as the kicking and the decision-making, and Jean de Villiers is there to give direction to the outside backs."
Elsewhere, fly-half Butch James has praised the return of star scrum-half Fourie du Preez to the Springboks set-up saying: "I have played often enough with both Fourie and with Jean (de Villiers) that this week has been like getting back onto a bicycle for me," said James.
"Fourie's whole game is brilliant, and he takes a lot of pressure off you as a fly-half because he is such a good kicker and decision-maker. It also helps when you have a good No.12 outside you, and I have that in Jean.
"Fourie was injured last year so I didn't get to play with him and it is quite a long time since I lined up between him and Jean, but it has gone well in training."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'