Johannesburg - The Springboks may well be a bit “underdone”
when they go into the Test match against Wales on Saturday but in terms of the
bigger picture, there simply wasn’t any other choice.
The Boks left on Wednesday night for America, ahead of their
historic one-off game against Wales in Washington and while the squad may be
young, untested and inexperienced, coach Rassie Erasmus believes they have
taken a worthwhile gamble by preparing in South Africa before heading West, according to supersport.com website.
Several Super Rugby teams have tried leaving late for
Argentina, with poor results, but the Boks feel there simply wasn’t another
choice than leaving for the States as late as they have done.
Erasmus explained that as it was the first week that the
squad was together, travelling on Sunday would have left them losing time in
terms of preparation and it was decided to be prudent and rather train as a
group before 26 players headed for the game.
“The question we had to ask ourselves is if we travelled on
a Sunday just after Super Rugby games, then and because you’re a bigger squad,
you would lose two days of coaching both teams,” Erasmus said.
“It wasn’t actually a fact that we said it would
logistically or jetlag, or time-zone wise make a better call. It wasn’t that.
Our two questions were that there were two days and we could work with the
whole group together, meaning the guys who are going to play against England - from both squads - would have had another three days with us.”
Erasmus admitted he was worried the travel factor would
catch the side and said they would need to be clever in the way they play, as
well as the way they use their substitutions.
“I think it will catch us, that is why the way want to play
and the way we use our subs is going to be very important. Also mental
toughness, we know how tough it is going to be. There is no excuses that we are
“And then on the medical side, the doctor and the medical
staff have prepared, from wearing specs to the sleeping patterns, all those
things are in place. But yes it will catch us and we will have to handle it.”
Erasmus added that during the Super Rugby season he and the
coaching staff had communicated extensively to get the players on the same
page, but that it was never a substitute for being together as a group.
“I think we tried our best to feed a lot of info to guys via
a lot of different platforms to try and get everyone aligned to what we want to
do,” he explained.
“I guess to get everyone tactically thinking the same way,
we are not going to change the guys’ skills and fundamentals but to get the
guys thinking the same way. I am really confident that the two days we have put
in, and today and tomorrow, and the captain’s run - we won’t do a normal
captains run but rather an extended run - we will be okay.”
The Boks have lost their last two outings against the Welsh
and Erasmus has stated more than once that he wants to start on a positive
note. But with seven new caps and travel also counting against them the Boks
will have their work cut out for them.
Read the story on SuperSport