Rassie Erasmus has explained the reasoning behind the Springboks spending the past week training in New Zealand ahead of next Saturday’s clash against Argentina in Salta.
The Boks concluded their training camp in Auckland with a final field session at the Ponsonby Rugby Club ground on Friday morning.
Almost half of the squad and management are set to travel to Argentina later on Friday while the rest of the South African travelling party is due to fly out to Buenos Aires on Sunday.
The full squad will train together again on Monday morning in the Argentine capital, where the South Africans will be staying until next Thursday before flying out to Salta.
Next Saturday’s Test against the Pumas, in the high altitude conditions of Salta, is the Springboks’ final match of the shortened 2019 Rugby Championship.
Following the Salta encounter, the Springboks and Argentina will meet for a second week in a row on 17 August at Loftus in Pretoria, in what will be the South Africans’ final home match before the official announcement of the World Cup squad on 26 August.
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. ‘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 9:40pm SA time).
The Springbok team for next Saturday’s match in Salta will be named on Wednesday afternoon (SA time).
Photo: SA Rugby