Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has admitted that he has selected a relatively inexperienced side for his first ever test match since taking over as Boks coach.
Erasmus has included three new caps in a 24-man squad for the first test against England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday. The three new caps in the squad find themselves in the starting 15.
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) June 7, 2018
Rassie Erasmus has named the #Springbok team for the first Test in the @CastleLagerSA Incoming Series against @EnglandRugby – check out which 22 players will be led out by our captain, Siya Kolisi, on Saturday. #LoveRugby pic.twitter.com/BDtpqXNNow
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They are wings Sbu Nkosi and Aphiwe Dyantyi and lock RG Snyman. Erasmus says he’s got good back up on the bench.
“I think you guys if you study this team you’ll see even apart from the debutants there’s Lukhanyo who’s playing his second match, Andre he’s got twenty six caps, Willie is probably the most experienced player with forty one caps, and obviously a guy like beast. I guess there will be guys who will never start depending how the game go and i think this bench will definitely bring some attitude, impact, and speed. If we go in front in the game so i think that’s why we selected the bench, it’s all players who will have definite impact,” Erasmus says.
Erasmus says his two overseas based players Du Plessis and Steyn are still part of his World Cup plans, and their absence for the three test matches against England is a big blow.
“When I went over there to see all of them, you know the guys that side I have accepted that these guys have have made peace that they are going on with their career abroad. But when I went to France, the two of the guys had said they desperately want to play. I’ve got no doubt that it’s unfortunately one of those things which is out of our control; and it is what it is.”
Boks flyhalf, Handre Pollard, says they are still getting used to each other as players, and things will definitely improve if they get more game time together.
“Great to be back. Very exciting times, bunch of new faces in the backline. Some old ones are also back. The guys like Sbu in unbelievable form, unbelievable talent!”
Despite untested combinations all round, Pollard says if they can pull in the same direction as a team, the Springboks will get positive results going forward.
Erasmus says although he wants instant results, his main focus is to build a formidable squad for next year’s World Cup. It is still not clear if Du Plessis and Steyn will be available for the Rugby Championship which follows in August. The first test against Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon, kicks off just after five o’clock.