Rassie happy with Boks build-up in Auckland… but how does he play it now?

Rassie happy with Boks build-up in Auckland… but how does he play it now?

Whatever team he picks to play their last match in the Rugby Championship against Argentina in Salta next Saturday, it is certain that nobody will be able to say with certainty what Rassie Erasmus has in mind for his final World Cup squad.

SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby admitted as much to the website sarugbymag.co.za when he said that it would be difficult for him to cut the squad from the present 38 players to 31 for the World Cup, but that he would look at that aspect after the second test, a warm-up against the Pumas in Pretoria, the week following the Salta test.

The full Springbok squad will train together in Buenos Aires on Monday after their successful training camp in Auckland where they prepared for the third and last Rugby Championship test.

The Springboks play Argentina in Salta next weekend but will prepare for the match in Buenos Aires before flying out to Salta on Thursday.

It is uncertain what Rassie Erasmus plans for the Pumas. Will he select his strongest side to give the team World Cup squad as much time as possible to play together, or will he use the test as another opportunity to experiment with some players?

The Springbok team for next Saturday’s match in Salta will be named on Wednesday afternoon (SA time).

♦ Erasmus said the Springboks achieved what they set out to do as they concluded their training camp in New Zealand with a final field session at the Ponsonby Rugby Club ground in Auckland on Friday morning.

Almost half of the squad and management are set to travel to Argentina later on Friday night from Auckland, while the rest of the South African travelling party is due to fly out to Buenos Aires on Sunday.

♦ Speaking on Friday in Auckland, Erasmus said he was happy with the outcome of the week's preparation activities in Auckland. 

“We chose to stay behind in Auckland (after the Wellington Test) mainly for two reasons,” said Erasmus shortly after his squad finished their final training session on Kiwi soil. 

“Firstly, to cut down on the amount of traveling time between New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.  

“And secondly, we had some good team building exercises, while we used the time together to fit in some extra training time with the squad. 

“We have grown into a very tight unit, so looking back at the past week I think we ticked both those boxes.” 

♦ The Springboks have a one-point lead over holders New Zealand in the build-up to the final round of Rugby Championship next weekend. Australia and New Zealand play in Perth in next Saturday's early match and that is followed by the Salta encounter between the Pumas and Springboks (kick-off 21:40 SA time).

♦ The Springbok team for next Saturday’s match in Salta will be named on Wednesday afternoon (SA time).