With concerns of Covid-19 and following the latest national teams alignment camp in Johannesburg the Springboks will head into a “hard bubble” for their upcoming tests for Georgia and the British Irish Lions says SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber,. Erasmus confirmed that matches will be played on 2 July 2021 and 9 July 2021, however the venues for the test matches for the Georgia test match will be announced by SA Rugby, but the Springboks will get the opportunity to be together at their training camp in Bloemfontein before their first test match.
The 45-man squad is set to be named on Saturday, 5 June 2021. Amongst the selected Erasmus stated that overseas players who are available will be selected. “ Some of the guys have already been here, the Japanese players were already with us and as players and teams fall out of competitions in the premiership , Top 14 and PRO 14 they will be selected “ says Erasmus
“ So we will probably pick the best possible teams which we think will play against against the British Irish Lions and who we have been following for the last couple of months or last year and he is already available because is out of the competition, then certainly we will consider the best possible guys for those first two Test matches “
Erasmus stated that players like Cheslin Kolbe and Rynhardt Elstadt have won incredible European Champions Cup with Toulouse and mentioned that players in Japan did really well over the season. Willie Le Roux has also been included in Team of the Season.
“ With our local boys, there are certainly a few young guys who put their hands up, so the squad will be announcing their 45-man squad next week and Covid might change it as we will be in a hard bubble with hard entry and exit systems “ says Erasmus.
“The entire Springbok management team and players will have to be Covid tested before they enter the bio-bubble, as the Lions team has already gone for vaccinations “
Erasmus mentioned there was incredible talent and because the SA pool of players was big enough overseas, local players were able to attend trials every weekend and they saw an immense amount of potential being presented to them.
“ I cannot wait for my first Test in charge “ says Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber as he patiently awaits his first test match with excitement.
Nienaber mentioned that he enjoys working with the players, implementing plans and seeing whether it works out. He also smiled and says he enjoys being mentally challenged by players “ I cannot wait “ he says
“ I have much more butterflies for this press conference than I have for the first test match, I’m just joking. I have alot of butterflies in my stomach “
Nienaber said the second alignment camp held in Johannesburg added so much value, as the first alignment camp was structured around schedule planning but changed as the tour became clearer. They also did a reality check with players, team management and the organization looking at critical areas that needed to be at a certain standard. At the second camp was where the hard work started .
“ We also let players know our selection policy, how to be part of these tests and tours. We also started drip feeding some game plans”
Nienaber mentioned that he was monitoring any injuries and taking active steps towards managing that, amongst the injuries were Lood de Jager, RG Snyman and Warrick Gelant. Tendai Mtwawarira and Francois Louw were amongst players who weren’t available for selection this year.
“ Our strategic objective is to win, to first and foremost get performance, the second is to transform and the third is to broaden squad depth . We will select and try to get the balance to talk to all three strategic objectives “
Nienaber ends off by saying by achieving these goals and objectives they are not just ticking the transformation boxes, but transforming the team as they believe diversity is the best.
The 45-man squad is set to be named next Saturday, 5 June 2021 for the Georgia Tests and Lions Series.
Source: Fatima Said