Boks get matches to provide necessary rough and tumble before Rugby Championship

Lukhanyo Am is said to be named as the captain for the team that will travel Down Under with some senior players‚ including captain Siya Kolisi‚ potentially kept out of harm’s way for the Rugby Championship.
Lukhanyo Am is said to be named as the captain for the team that will travel Down Under with some senior players‚ including captain Siya Kolisi‚ potentially kept out of harm’s way for the Rugby Championship.
Image: BACKPAGEPIX/ SAMUEL SHIVAMBU

The Springboks who are set for Rugby Championship duty are likely to play four‚ or at best five‚ matches before going into battle in Australia.

SA Rugby on Wednesday announced their new playing roster for the domestic season‚ which is set to resume with a double header at Loftus involving the Lions against the Stormers and the Bulls versus the Sharks.

A week later the so called Springbok Showdown is set to take place at Newlands and this will present director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and head coach Jacques Nienaber the opportunity to test combinations likely to play in Australia.

The team for the Showdown will be assembled using a draft system in which Erasmus and Nienaber will alternate in making individual selections.

That match will be followed a week later by the start of the domestic competition‚ which will give the Boks two or three more opportunities to get match sharp for the trip Down Under.

They will need to leave before October 24 to meet the Australian quarantine deadline before the November 7 start to the tournament.

Former Lions coach and Springbok attack coach Swys de Bruin believes the rough and tumble the Boks are likely to be exposed to in four matches might prove sufficient before they head to Australia.

“They trained differently. They’ve done a lot of skills-based training‚” said De Bruin.

“Of course they did a lot of power-related training in the gyms but your body also needs to get used to taking contact. It takes you a game or two‚ sometimes three‚ to get used to it again.

“It is something you absolutely have to get used to‚” stressed De Bruin. “If they play four games they could be okay.

“Remember‚ at the start of a Super Rugby season we play one friendly before we go into the competition.

"Then in the first two games we are a little scratchy. I don’t think it will be an issue if they play four or five matches.”

Despite the game time available to locally-based players‚ De Bruin does agree that the Boks may have to rely heavily on an overseas-based contingent for this tour.

“I think it will also be beneficial if they select a bunch of guys who are based overseas because they have had some proper game time.”

He’d also like to see the start of a renewing process in the squad.

“I’ll back that. After every World Cup you have a watershed moment for the national team.

"You need fresh legs to start building again. There are some older players I would not play now‚” said De Bruin.

With some senior players‚ including captain Siya Kolisi‚ potentially kept out of harm’s way for the Rugby Championship‚ De Bruin backs the player said to be in line for the captaincy.

“I have a lot of respect for him‚” said De Bruin of Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am. “I got to know him well.

“He’s a different type of guy. He’s quieter. He’s more a ‘follow me’ kind of guy in what he does. ‘We don’t talk a lot‚ we do a lot’.

“I rate him highly as a leader and he showed it at the Sharks. I think the pressure will be so high on Siya that it is perhaps best to rest him.”


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