The first group of players named in Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber’s 46-man squad assembled in the Free State capital last Sunday and were put through their paces in a number of field and gym sessions throughout the week.

They will continue their preparations on Monday after a well-deserved break over the weekend and will be joined by a contingent of domestic players at the conclusion of the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA competition on Saturday.

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick reflected on the week saying: “So far so good. The camp has been going very well and as a coaching and management team we have managed to put our systems in place.

“We are happy as a Springbok team to get the opportunity to start working with the players and on our systems, and to get back after a long absence from international rugby. We are excited to represent our country and to return to the field.”

The remaining squad members will report for duty towards the end of June, as they conclude their club commitments.

The Springboks will kick off the international season with two Tests against Georgia, on Fridays 2 and 9 July respectively, before lining up against the British & Irish Lions in three Castle Lager Lions Series Test matches on Saturday, 24 and 31 July, and 7 August respectively.

Stick had a message for the Springbok fans too, saying: “Thanks to everyone supporting us. We hope to keep making you proud.”