Boks urged to solidify RWC spots

2014-10-29 22:47
Johan van Graan and Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Heyneke Meyer has urged his players to use the Springboks' Northern Hemisphere tour to book themselves a ticket to next year's World Cup in England.

Meyer selected a bloated 36-man squad earlier this week for matches against Ireland, England, Italy and Wales on consecutive weekends starting November 8.

South Africa then have only a shortened Rugby Championship in July and August to prepare for September and October's Rugby World Cup so with opportunities to impress dwindling, now is the moment for those on the fringes of selection.

"Before next year's World Cup there are only four Test matches, as there are no incoming tours. This is the last opportunity we have to look at every single player," he told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"There are a lot of guys who are really unlucky not to be here, at least 10 more could have been chosen."

Meyer will need the full depth of his squad for the Wales game in Cardiff on November 29 when the Springboks will be unable to use any of their overseas-based players as the match falls outside of the international window.

The Bok coach believes their schedule will be a worthy test in conditions obviously similar to those they will face at the World Cup.

"This is probably the toughest tour we have faced to the Northern Hemisphere. I truly believe Ireland is an unbelievable team, they were unlucky not to beat the All Blacks last year," Meyer said.

"They've got a great coaching staff, a lot of in-form players and their defence is great. They've got a good kicking game in those conditions.

"England are a tough team to play. In the last four games, we've won three by a few points and drawn one. They will always be tough."

Although Meyer says four wins is the obvious target, he is "realistic" about his side's chances.

"We've lost to lesser teams in the past, so Italy will be tough, and Wales will be a tough challenge with a new-look side.

"I'm confident, but realistic as well. It will be tough to win all four.

"It's our goal, but we're going to have to be better than in the Rugby Championship if we are going to win all four."

The squad is scheduled to depart for Dublin, via London, on Saturday.

Read more on:    springboks  |  heyneke meyer  |  johannesburg  |  rugby

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