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Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said his squad were on track with their preparations for the Castle Lager Rugby Championship after wrapping up the second week of their training camp in Pretoria on Friday.

The squad have been hard at work on and off the field in the last two weeks for their opening Test of the season against Australia at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 8 July, with the training camp comprising numerous field and gym sessions as well as team meetings.

The group will re-assemble in Pretoria on Sunday for the final week of the training camp, before entering the Australia Test week a week later. 

“Things are coming together nicely,” said Nienaber. “The intensity of our training sessions is good and it’s pleasing to see how we are progressing. We had a good base to build from thanks to the camps earlier in the season, and we’ve built on that steadily since getting together.

“We also started zooming into the Tests against Australia and New Zealand this week because it’s vital that we are well prepared going into those Test matches and have a good Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign before entering our Rugby World Cup warm-up matches and the global spectacle itself later in the season.”

SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, meanwhile, was delighted about the confirmation from World Rugby that lock Jean Kleyn is eligible for selection based on the rule of birth-right transfer.

“Jean’s clearance is great news for the team in this important season,” said Erasmus. “His international experience increases our depth at lock while at the same time boosting the experience in the squad in a year in which every match is vital in our preparations for the World Cup.”

Erasmus also wished the Toyota Cheetahs and Airlink Pumas well for the Currie Cup Premier Division Final, the Boland Kavaliers and Valke for the First Division Final, and the Junior Springboks luck as they kick off their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign against Georgia on Saturday.

“We are proud of all four teams that made it to the finals, and we are excited to see what spectacles they deliver on Saturday,” said Erasmus. “We wish them and the Junior Springboks luck for their opening World Rugby U20 Championship game in what’s going to be an exciting day for rugby in SA.”

The Springboks will play three Tests in the abbreviated version of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship against Australia (8 July), New Zealand at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland (Saturday 15 July) and Argentina at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg (Saturday 29 July).

The team will then play three Rugby World Cup warm-up games – against Argentina in Buenos Aires (5 August), Wales in Cardiff (19 August) and New Zealand in London (25 August) before travelling to Corsica for a one-week camp en route to Toulon for their opening Rugby World Cup fixture against Scotland on Sunday 10 September.

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