Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says there are still a few logistical issues to sort out before Frans Steyn can be with the squad full time.
Steyn was one of 10 overseas-based players included in the extended squad for the upcoming shortened Rugby Championship, which the Springboks will use to prepare for their World Cup campaign.
The Montpellier player has linked up with the squad, but Erasmus told the media on Wednesday that the 32-year-old needs to sort out a couple of logistical issues before joining the camp as a full-time member.
‘Frans has already joined us,’ Erasmus said. ‘Because he has not been in our squad before, if he does make the squad to go to New Zealand, there will be admin and family things, so it will just be a matter of sorting out a few logistical things. From Saturday, he will be with the squad full time.
‘He is not as fit as our fittest guy but he is definitely fitter than our unfittest [sic] guy,’ Erasmus added with a chuckle. ‘There are 10 overseas guys here. Not all 10 will make the World Cup squad. We are just trying all our options in case of injury. It is a challenge for them to try and make the squad.
‘Sometimes with overseas players, some of the things are outside their control. That is why from 2020 onwards, we have sent the Regulation 9 letter [regarding the right to call up overseas players for Test duty] to all the clubs to warn that we were going to call up the players. That is why last year I flew over to all the clubs and met the owners.
‘Prior to that, we did not tell them and players had signed contracts, there were promises made by agents for certain players. In some cases the players were caught up in the middle. So I am comfortable with all the players that are here. I know where I stand with them and where their heart lies and what their ambitions are.’
Erasmus identified the importance of having experienced and versatile squad members, who can provide added depth during their campaign.
‘The way we have planned it is that we play Japan and two weeks later New Zealand and then we play Namibia, where we will probably rest a few of the “first-choice” players. We then play Italy, which is a pretty big game, and then Canada. So every two weeks we will play our “first-choice” team, if I can put it that way.
‘You cannot disrespect those other teams. You still need some seniority and guys who can step up without having a hiccup like Japan [who the Springboks lost to in the 2015 World Cup]. That is where it is important to have some swingers in terms of covering 10, 12 and 15, who are still experienced and calm enough, who don’t fold under pressure. ‘
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