Lock Lood de Jager says getting game time against Argentina this weekend will help him build up a head of steam for the Boks’ World Cup campaign.
De Jager was injured for a large part of the Vodacom Bulls’ Super Rugby campaign and only returned to action in the Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup clash with Western Province on 13 July before being called up to the Springbok squad for the Rugby Championship.
The 26-year-old then started in the opening Test against the Wallabies, but was left out of the match-day squads against the All Blacks and Argentina.
With Bok coach Rassie Erasmus admitting he will ‘mix and match [selections] a little bit’ this week, De Jager is set to play some kind of role in the warm-up against Argentina. He says it will be an emotional game for him because it will be his swansong at Loftus.
‘It’s a massive opportunity for me this weekend, especially playing at Loftus, I love playing there. Being injured, I didn’t get the chance to finish it off at the Bulls and at the stadium like I wanted to – so this is going to be a big Test for me,’ De Jager said.
He added that his confidence is slowly returning after the multiple injury setbacks he suffered throughout the season.
‘For me it’s about executing my job this weekend. Hopefully each week I can continue to develop and get better and hopefully by the time the World Cup comes, I can be somewhere near my best,’ he explained.
De Jager, who signed a contract to join the Sale Sharks after the World Cup, fighting with RG Snyman for a spot in the 31-man squad, but insists that the inner squad competition is good for the team.
‘It’s a good problem to have because it will definitely help us prepare well for the World Cup.’
The Springbok team to face Argentina will be announced at 2:30pm on Wednesday and the match kicks off at 5:05pm on Saturday.
Photo: Dave Hunt/Getty Images/EPA