A short week is the reason that Springbok coach Allister Coetzee did not consider the “world-class” duo of Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn for duty against Ireland on Saturday.
“I learned last year how important continuity and team culture is,” Coetzee told Netwerk24. “To have enough time to prepare is critical in Test Rugby. Players may be world-class but need more than a Test week to get involved.”
As per World Rugby regulations, Vermeulen and Steyn would only have been available to join the Boks on Monday from Top 14 contenders Toulon and Montpellier.
Coetzee has not ruled out the possibility of calling up the duo in the future, but in the interim he has opted to stick with the back-row combination of Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Francois Louw that did duty against New Zealand at Newlands in August, plugging the hole in the midfield with Damian de Allende.
“We will definitely stay in touch with them, but we are pleased with the players in the group,” said Coetzee. “We’ve got a good team culture here and it was important for me to work with the same group of players.
“We have everything we need in the loose trio. Pieter-Steph offers an explosive ball-carrier at blindside flank and is a good line-out option. Siya has been outstanding all season and he and Flo can both play to the ball. On our ball it’s important to ensure that we secure the first breakdown and the bonus is that they can both force turnovers.”
They will have their work cut out for them in Dublin when they go up against a British & Irish Lions back row of CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony.
“We are looking forward to it,” said Kolisi.