Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has admitted to being ‘worried’ about trimming the squad for the World Cup in Japan next month.
The Springboks have only two Tests against Argentina remaining before the 31-man squad departs for a pre-World Cup holding camp in Kagoshima City. But Erasmus has hinted that he hasn’t yet finalised his player contingent for the showpiece in Japan.
Speaking from Auckland, where the team is currently based ahead of their trip to Buenos Aires, Erasmus said: ‘There are 36 to 38 players in our camp and in our plans at this stage. It’ll be tough for me personally because there are going to be six or seven guys who’ll fall out of the squad and I’m already worried about that.
‘It’s worrying to know that some of guys are going to miss out on selection. But I’ll deal with that after our last game against Argentina [in Pretoria].’
South Africa are in pole position to win the Rugby Championship if they beat Los Pumas next Saturday night. When asked if winning the premier title in the southern hemisphere will add more pressure on his team to perform at the World Cup, Erasmus explained that the Boks always aim to win even if positive results increase pressure and create higher expectations.
‘There is pressure, but winning is always what one wants to achieve. Winning always trumps everything. We’re also trying to build a squad, build experience and build a [new] team culture.
‘Winning the Rugby Champs will be very important because it creates self belief within the team and at the end of the day we want to be a united team. I guess on Saturday night that will be one of the things we’ll be trying to achieve.’
He says unity and team morale were some of the main reasons the Boks stayed on in New Zealand after their epic 16-16 draw with ht All Blacks last weekend.
‘The first reason is obviously the travel. We didn’t want to fly back home and have a double travel to Argentina again.’
‘The other reason was for some team building and extra training time for us and both those boxes were ticked. We’re really going to this World Cup as a tight bunch of players and as a management team.’
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