Instead of returning to South Africa after the All Blacks Test this weekend, the 36-man Bok touring squad will hold a camp in New Zealand before heading to Argentina to face the Pumas.
SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, lauded a number of players for superb individual performances in the Springboks’ 35-17 win over Australia in Johannesburg, but said the team will have to improve as they build towards the Rugby World Cup.
The Boks scored five tries to two, with Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) grabbing two on debut as South Africa recorded a full-house of five Rugby Championship log points at Ellis Park.
Lood de Jager (lock), Sbu Nkosi (right wing) and Cobus Reinach (replacement scrumhalf) also scored tries, while Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) converted all five tries.
“A few guys certainly put their hands up for Rugby World Cup selection and although there was some rustiness and all our combinations weren’t settled, we are still happy with the win,” said Erasmus.
“At times we were frustrated with how things went, and we were also lucky as they had a try disallowed for a forward pass and lost the ball over the line.
“The same happened in some Tests last year – some you win, some you lose, but we’ll take it and say ‘thanks’, but we’re under no illusions that this was far from a world class performance. So the biggest positive from the Test was probably individual performances.
“From a team performance perspective, this isn’t how we want to play, quality wise, and we’re aware of that. They had our number in the air and we’ll have to look at that, there are a lot of areas we can improve on.”
Erasmus lauded the performances of Jantjies.
“I think Herschel showed that he is comfortable at this level, if you consider that he only really made his mark at Vodacom Super Rugby level this year,” said Erasmus.
“Cobus also did very well when he came on. But things can change quickly with injuries and loss of form, so it’s good to have depth.
“Last year Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl did very well at stages, while we also have Faf (de Klerk) and Louis Schreuder, so it’s good to have all these options available. Now we have to consolidate and make sure we get the right 9s to the Rugby World Cup.”
“We are not returning to South Africa after the Test in Wellington and will remain in New Zealand for a camp before we go to Argentina to face the Pumas.
“But before that, we need to shift our focus to the All Blacks. They also left a few players at home and will be fresh and ready for us.
“It was difficult to select this team as we didn’t want to show any disrespect to Australia, but this weekend we are playing the top side in the world, so we amended our travel plans as we would like to be as fresh as possible over there, otherwise we won’t stand a chance.
“This is a massively important match – the last three Tests between us and them have been very close and could have gone either way, but they are playing at home and will be ready for us.
Erasmus has confirmed a touring squad of 36 players which saw Eben Etzebeth, Jesse Kriel, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Trevor Nyakane, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Bongi Mbonambi and the coaching staff jetting out of Johannesburg soon after the victory over on Saturday night to join an advance party of 14 players who left on Thursday.
Marcell Coetzee, Francois Louw, Lood de Jager, Tendai Mtawarira, Schalk Brits, Cobus Reinach, Sbu Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Frans Steyn and Vincent Koch left on Sunday evening, leaving Erasmus with 22 players on the field for an afternoon training session in Wellington today.
Lizo Gqoboka, Warrick Gelant, Marvin Orie and Andre Esterhuizen, will be joining the Springboks in New Zealand during the next few days, while Marco van Staden and Dillyn Leyds have been released to their provinces until the Springboks returns from their tour.
The Springboks play New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday before travelling to Argentina to meet the Pumas in Salta on 10 August.
The full tour squad is:
Forwards (21): Schalk Brits (Vodacom Bulls), Marcell Coetzee (Ulster, Ireland), Lood de Jager (Vodacom Bulls), Thomas du Toit (Cell C Sharks), Pieter-Steph du Toit (DHL Stormers), Rynhardt Elstadt (Toulouse, France), Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers), Lizo Gqoboka (Vodacom Bulls), Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (DHL Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Cell C Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Vodacom Bulls), Marvin Orie (Emirates Lions), Kwagga Smith (Emirates Lions), RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom Bulls).
Backs (15): Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks), Damian de Allende (DHL Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Andre Esterhuizen (Cell C Sharks), Warrick Gelant (Vodacom Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions), Herschel Jantjies (DHL Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks), Sbu Nkosi (Cell C Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handré Pollard (Vodacom Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).