Johannesburg - Given the extent of the Springbok injury list, coach Heyneke Meyer will only select some of his players in the final warm-up match against Argentina before naming his final Rugby World Cup squad towards the end of August.
“The Boks have to win every game they play and only a victory is good enough for me, but, unfortunately I will have to use the Rugby Championship as preparation for the World Cup because there is not an incoming tour,” Meyer said at a Bok training camp in Johannesburg on Monday.
“Many of these players need game time and many of these players haven’t played, so I will have to be smart.
“Most of the squad will have to get game time before the World Cup and there aren’t any easy games there.”
He said although it was a gamble to persist with players that could effectively only play in one match in a Bok jersey before the start of the World Cup, the experience they bring in knockout rugby would be of great value.
“You have to go with guys that you know have been there and although a lot of them are not in their best form it is my job to get them to their best,” Meyer said.
“There is not a lot of time and you can’t just throw them to the wolves and give them 20 minutes and think they will perform at the highest level.
“We just need to get through the first two to three games and I do believe we will be fine for the World Cup.”
Meyer was upbeat about the Boks’ chances during the Rugby Championships and the Rugby World Cup despite some of his stalwarts unavailable.
This included the talismanic Fourie du Preez, who suffered a medial knee injury during training and will be out for four to eight weeks.
The good news on lock Pieter-Steph du Toit is that should his rehabilitation continue without a hitch, he should be ready for selection during the latter stages of the Rugby Championship.
That was also the case with captain Jean de Villiers, who is set to get some game time in July.
“My biggest headache is to get the players as fit as possible, statistics show the teams that win the World Cup are the fittest,” Meyer said.
“We don’t have a lot of time to achieve that and we have very tough competition in the Rugby Championship. We fly all over the world and you don’t have much time for fitness training because you have to go and win those games.
“Despite all the injuries everybody is positive and there is no reason why we can’t win the Rugby Championship and the World Cup.”
Meyer’s plight is highlighted by the list of 13 players in the injured or conditioning squad that will be reintroduced over the next two months.