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World champions South Africa to train in Corsica

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Springboks celebrate a try by Makazole Mapimpi (2nd R) during the 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England in Japan

Rugby World Cup holders South Africa will hold a training camp in Corsica before beginning their title defence against Scotland in Marseille on September 10.

Speaking on Friday after a three-day camp in Durban, coach Jacques Nienaber said the Springboks would move to the island after a warm-up game against New Zealand in London on August 25.

They would remain in the mountainous Mediterranean island until September 1, when they travel to Toulon to complete preparations for the 20-nation global rugby showpiece.

“The Corsica camp will be ideal for the players to adapt to the conditions in France while fine-tuning preparations for our first World Cup game,” Nienaber told reporters.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber . Photo Supplied

“We reaped the rewards of spending time in Japan before the 2019 World Cup and, hopefully, this camp will be equally beneficial in getting the players used to the French climate and culture.”

After Scotland, the Springboks face Romania, Ireland, the number one ranked team in the world, and Tonga with the Pool B winners and runners-up advancing to the quarter-finals.

The Durban camp involved 15 players, three of whom have been sidelined by injuries — captain and flanker Siya Kolisi, lock Eben Etzebeth and scrum-half Jaden Hendrikse.

A knee injury has left inspirational leader Kolisi racing against the clock to be fit for the World Cup while Etzebeth and Hendrikse are recovering from shoulder injuries.

“We assessed the injured players and will monitor their rehabilitation closely in the next few months,” said Nienaber.

Etzebeth hopes to be available for the Rugby Championship, where South Africa tackle Australia in their opening match on July 8 in Pretoria.

“I am aiming to be ready for the Rugby Championship, but then everything will have to go well, which I believe will happen,” the veteran forward told the Rapport newspaper.

After Australia, the world champions visit New Zealand and host Argentina in a Championship reduced from two rounds to one because of the World Cup.

South Africa have three warm-up internationals during August — away to Argentina and Wales and at Twickenham against New Zealand — before heading to Corsica.

AFP

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