The Springboks recently got their preparations for a testing international season underway as head coach Jacques Nienaber and his management team hosted the first of two alignment camps. Although there was widespread surprise after it became apparent that in-form and highly-regarded Stormers star Evan Roos had missed out on the first camp, it is now clear that he is very much in national contention.
Roos produced another top-class performance in the Stormers’ victory over the Glasgow Warriors on Friday, prompting director of rugby Rassie Erasmus to commend the young loose forward for the manner in which he had responded to “disappointment”.
It’s recently been impossible to overlook the consistent form of Evan Roos, who was nominated as the SA Rugby Young of the Year in 2021, and has continued to make a meaningful impact at the start of this year.
Plaudits have continued to pour in for the 22-year-old, who was recently described by 64-Test Wales veteran Dan Lydiate as a future Bok.
“There has been big talk [in Wales] about him going on to play for the Springboks, which you can definitely see… He’s certainly not just one for the future but one for now, and you’ve got to be on your game to keep him quiet. He sort of reminds me of [former Bok No 8] Pierre Spies at how quick and powerful he is.”
Evan Roos is likely to be included in the second Bok alignment camp
The first Bok alignment camp took place in Durban from Sunday 10 to Tuesday 12 April, and the second camp will be held in Cape Town, from Sunday 1 to Thursday 5 May.
A selected group of players from around the country have been invited to the camps and will appear in both cities as the Boks gear up for their exciting season. Further players, however, could be invited to the second camp.
The purpose of the camps will be to expose the players to the plans for the season and the Springbok culture as they look ahead to the Castle lager Incoming Series in July, when Wales will face the Boks in three back-to-back Tests, and then the Rugby Championship in August and September, which features two home Tests against the All Blacks and one against Argentina, and three away Tests – two against Australia and one against Argentina.
Alignment camps will also be hosted with the overseas-based players in England and France, as well as virtual meetings, all of which will take place between Saturday 16 and Monday 25 April.
With the Springboks first Test against Wales less than three months away, Nienaber said the alignment camps were vital to get the players into the right frame of mind as they look ahead to an important season ahead with an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.
“We are excited to get our season underway and these alignment camps are vital as we have not played for several months,” said Nienaber.
“These sessions will ensure that we are all on the same page on and off the field when we begin our official training sessions. Most of these activities will involve boardroom sessions where we set objectives and align in terms of our planning.
“We will host similar camps with our overseas-based players in the next few weeks, but the door is not shut for other players to be invited to the remaining camps.
“It is also important to emphasise that being invited to these camps by no means is a guarantee of selection for the Castle Lager Incoming Tour squad, but rather an opportunity for the players to start switching into the mind-set required for the international season.”