Bok coach Rassie Erasmus has hinted that Saturday’s warm-up match against Argentina will serve as the last opportunity for fringe players to bid for a place in the 31-man World Cup squad.
Erasmus has made host of changes to his team ahead of the game, with only five players from last week’s match 23 surviving the cut. Siya Kolisi is also back from a lengthy injury lay-off, while hooker Schalk Brits takes over the captaincy from Duane Vermeulen.
The coach issued a warning to this week’s playing squad that it is ‘make or break’ for their individual World Cup aspirations.
‘Some of these players will know they are on the plane but for others it is make or break, and even if they don’t make the plane there will be six standby roles to be identified,’ he said.
‘We’ve picked a formidable pack and we saw what the backline did against Australia, so I am really excited to see what they can do on Saturday to prove their own case and also show just how strong South African rugby is.’
The Springboks have lost just once in their past six Tests and remain the only unbeaten tier one in the calendar year. However, Erasmus is adamant the Boks’ recent good form won’t count for much if they don’t get the job done at Loftus on Saturday.
‘No matter what has happened before this weekend, the momentum we will go to the World Cup with will depend on what happens on Saturday.’
Photo: Kim Ludbrook/Getty Images/EPA