Following a gruelling Rugby World Cup and then a week of celebrations, World Cup winning Springbok players will gradually return to play at their various clubs.
Squad member Marvin Orie, who didn’t get a huge amount of game time at the world cup, skipped the victory tour around South Africa and has already turned out for Perpignan off the bench against Toulon in the French Top 14 this past weekend.
Most players will have been given an enforced three weeks rest, with the trophy tour counting as the first week, so players now have two weeks to rest before rejoining their franchises.
The South African teams – bar the Bulls – struggled in the United Rugby Championship this past weekend, so fans will be keen to see their stars back in action as soon as possible, bolstering their respective squads.
Bulls coach Jake White has said that he will consider his options when the time comes for players to rejoin, depending on how they do on the rest of their tour.
They will have the likes of Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Marco van Staden available for them and the plan is to have them ready by the time they take on Saracens on 10 December at Loftus Versfeld.
“Obviously we cannot wait to have that energy of the Springboks. You can imagine coming back from winning a World Cup, the kind of energy and enthusiasm they’ll bring to our squad,” 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach White said after the 54-29 win over Zebre.
“But what is also nice is the guys that are playing in the positions that those players can play, are also playing really well and that’s always nice as a coach when you’ve got so many more opportunities to sort of change your team around.
“Who knows, maybe we might leave the Boks out. They’ve got a compulsory three-week time off, and then when we get back, they’ll join our squad. If we’ve got momentum, I might give them another week off.”
The Sharks have lost three games overseas so could do with the likes of Jaden Hendrikse, Grant Williams, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Eben Etzebeth, the latter being the only one who played in the knock-out stages of the world cup.
The enforced rest only applies to the South African clubs, so overseas based players will be managed individually, with some perhaps back even sooner than expected.