Bok Test spots up for grabs
Leicester - A look at the future of South African rugby and its depth and plenty of excitement about the potential of the new Springboks.
Those are some of the aspects against which the players will be measured in Friday night’s game against the Leicester Tigers at Welford Road, according to Springbok backline coach Dick Muir.
Muir, who will coach the side until head coach Peter de Villiers takes the reins again for the Test against France, believes the Boks may struggle a little for cohesion because of a lack of preparation time.
“It’s more about what we can achieve. In that sense, this game is very important with a view to the future,” said Muir.
“We definitely picked younger players for the game. Not just because we expect them to give the next step, but because we want them to excel.”
Muir added that at least seven places are up for grabs for next Friday’s Test in Toulouse.
“That is the other carrot for the players. There are definitely places in the test team up for grabs and the players that show they want it, will be rewarded,” he said.
However, the home side will not roll over for the Boks.
The Tigers picked a strong team, including All Blacks Scott Hamilton and Aaron Mauger. Lote Tuqiri will also be among the substitutes.
“Leicester have so much tradition and character that this will be a true test for us,” said Bok captain Chiliboy Ralepelle.
“It’s an important day for them with the opening of the new Caterpillar Pavilion, but we’ll have to put a dampener on the celebrations if we want to achieve our goals.”
Ralepelle believes the Boks’ professionalism will counter the lack of cohesion.
“Nobody has to stress about his team-mate because everybody here has proved that they can play. We’re keen to express ourselves because it’s a huge opportunity for many of the players,” he said.
Muir indicated that all 22 players should get opportunities, which means that half of them will represent the Boks for the first time.
“You have to consider how to utilise each player’s strengths in the game,” said Muir.
Tigers captain Aaron Mauger said that their biggest challenge would be to handle the Boks’ physicality.
“It’s not going to be easy because they have excellent athletes and ball-carriers,” he said.
“The secret for us will be to limit their possession to the minimum. We’re not going to roll over just because they are the world champions.”