Town - Head coach Rassie
Erasmus says he has settled on around 80% of his Springbok squad
for this year's World Cup in Japan.
There are just five Test matches remaining for
the Boks before their World Cup opener against the All Blacks in Yokohama on
September 21, but there are just four Tests left before Erasmus must select a
squad of 31 Boks that will go in
search of a third Webb Ellis Cup.
A shortened Rugby Championship
sees the Boks play Australia, New Zealand and Argentina over July and August,
while there is also a one-off Test against Argentina the week after the
It means that Erasmus has limited
time left for experimentation, and he confirmed to media in Cape Town on
Tuesday that the Boks would look to field their strongest possible side between
now and the World Cup.
The only possible window for
change, Erasmus said, was likely to be that one-off Test against the Pumas at
Loftus on August 17, but that would
depend on the Boks' form.
"This year there is only one
strategic goal and that's the World Cup," Erasmus said.
"The first thing is that we
would love to win the Rugby Championship, so we will select teams that we feel
can win the Rugby Championship.
"In that last Argentina
game, it depends where we are. If we're on a roll then you won't want to change
things but if we're not on a roll then you might do things differently to try
return to winning ways.
"We definitely have the
World Cup in our mind and I see ourselves picking our strongest possible side
for the Rugby Championship."
Injuries, of course, can still
change things and there have already been massive blows to the Bok cause with
Lood de Jager and Warren Whiteley currently sidelined.
If everyone stays fit, though,
then Erasmus is unlikely to turn to players who were not heavily involved in
the 2018 international season.
"It's going to be tough for
guys who have only played one or two Test matches to force their way in,"
"There would have to be
"I would say about 80% of
the squad is pretty much settled, but as we saw with Lood and Warren, injuries
"A guy can also just knock
down the door totally, so maybe 70% or 80% we are settled on."