Well then… the completion of the Rugby Championship for the year and the obligatory non-Rugby Championship games last week brings with it one very harsh reality for the southern hemisphere nations.
The Wallabies’ hopes of a breakthrough Rugby Championship win at Ellis Park have suffered a blow with a number of key players including Brumbies ace Christian Lealiifano sent home.
Six players are returning to Australia through injury, personal circumstances or to play club rugby.
Brumbies playmaker Lealiifano carried a shoulder injury through the last few Super Rugby matches with the Wallabies medical staff deciding he was better served with another week’s rest.
The 31-year-old had been gunning to play his first Test since 2016 when he was diagnosed with leukaemia and told he may never play again.
Before being ruled out he spoke at his joy of being selected in the squad on form rather than any kind of sentimentality.
“It would be right up there in my achievements (to play for Australia again),” Lealiifano said.
“Being back in the squad is something that I thought would never happen again and it’s something I’m really proud of and grateful for as well, that they haven’t picked me just because I’m healthy again.
“They’ve said they’ve picked me on form, it’s not just a token selection.”
His Brumbies teammate, prop Scott Sio, suffered an adductor injury last Friday at training and has failed to come up while Waratahs prop Tom Robertson hurt his ankle at training on Tuesday.
Lealiifano and Sio are expected to be fit to face Argentina in Brisbane next Saturday while Robertson is unlikely to be available.
Winger Marika Koroibete will also fly home to Melbourne to be with his family after the birth of his second child and will meet the official squad in Brisbane.
Utility back Jack Maddocks and backrower Rob Valetini were released for club duties this weekend.
Waratahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes is en route to Johannesburg to provide extra front-row coverage.
The Wallabies haven’t won at the famed Ellis Park since 1963 and with the Springboks set to name a weakened side, sense a golden opportunity.
Coach Michael Cheika will name his side on Thursday in Johannesburg.