Rested and in-form Boks, minus Rassie, jet over to Australia for Rugby Championship showdown
A refreshed Springboks side left for Australia on Thursday morning without Rassie Erasmus for the away leg of the Rugby Championship determined to maintain their winning momentum.
Over the past few weeks, the Boks beat Georgia, clinched the Lions Series after beating the British and Irish Lions 2-1 and started the Rugby Championship campaign with back-to-back wins over Argentina.
Over the coming weeks, Jacques Nienaber’s men will be determined to build on their strong start when they take on Australia and New Zealand in the cities of Gold Coast and Brisbane.
The Boks will face Australia on September 12 at the CBUS Super Stadium in Gold Coast, which will be followed by another match-up between the teams at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on September 18.
These fixtures will be followed by back-to-back matches against the All Blacks on September 25 at the QLD Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, and October 2 at the CBUS Super Stadium in the Gold Coast.
“The players had a few days off to rest mentally and recover physically from the demanding start to the season, so we are excited to make this trip to Australia and to get back onto the park for the next leg of the competition,” said Nienaber.
“When we arrive in Australia, we will be in quarantine for two weeks, although we will be allowed to train at specific times of the day. Then we enter a challenging block of four back-to-back Tests against Australia and New Zealand respectively, so it is important that we get back into our Test-week routine as quickly as possible.”
Despite entering a different time zone, Nienaber was confident that the team would be settled in and ready for action for the opening Test against Australia.
“We have two weeks to adapt to the time zone and conditions due to our mandatory quarantine period, and that, combined with proper on-field preparations, will bode well for the team before the first match,” said Nienaber.
“This extra time will also be valuable for the players nursing niggles to recover fully. All of the players should be available for selection for the first Test against Australia, so the coaches will be in a good position in terms of squad selection when we begin our preparations for those matches.”
Nienaber said SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby Erasmus would remain in SA for the opening stages of tour and that he may join the team for the latter stages.
“Rassie has decided to remain in SA for now to allow the focus around the team to remain on the Rugby Championship and the team itself so that they can perform to the best of their ability on the field,” said Nienaber.
“He will continue to play an active role in our team and coaches' meetings throughout the tour, and schedule permitting, he may join us later on.”
Props: Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nché, Trevor Nyakane.
Hookers: Joseph Dweba, Johan Grobbelaar, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi.
Locks: Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie.
Loose forwards: Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, Dan du Preez.
Utility forwards: Rynhardt Elstadt, Jean-Luc du Preez
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Grant Williams.
Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies, Handré Pollard, Morné Steyn.
Midfielders: Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel.
Outside Backs: Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Rosko Specman.
Utility backs: Damian Willemse, Frans Steyn.