Springbok coach, Jacques Nienaber, says he’s relieved that international rugby is back in full swing after many months of uncertainty. Nienaber named his first-ever match-day squad since taking over as Springbok coach early last year.
The 23-man squad to face Georgia in the first Test match on Friday includes three debutants. Two are in the starting fifteen and both on the wing – Rosko Specman of the Cheetahs and the Sharks’ Aphelele Fassi.
Specman, however, has lots of international experience having represented the Blitzboks for many years.
Nienaber says it feels good that international rugby is back.
“Since my announcement as Springbok coach which was somewhere in January or February 2020, I feels so long ago. It is a long time ago you almost felt at some stage it’s not gonna happen so just super excited that it’s actually here and we are a couple of days away from playing our first test match in a very long time so super excited as is the squad.”
Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa, particularly in Gauteng, the matches will go ahead as planned.
The first Test match against Georgia will be played on Friday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, with the second match scheduled for Ellis Park in Johannesburg a week later.
Nienaber says they are in a safe bio-bubble to ensure that the matches go ahead as planned.
“From us as the springbok side I mean I must complement all the stakeholders involved, we are a very close-knit environment and they look after our safety and the way we do things so we are fortunate in terms of that. From a rugby side how the Springboks are managed it’s awesome they really look after our safety and there are good protocols in place and we make sure we adhere to that to make sure that the squad is safe.”
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