Heyneke Meyer says it's important to allow combinations to settle ahead of the World Cup, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
With just four games remaining for the Boks to prepare for the global tournament, which kicks off in September, time is of the essence. Meyer will want to allow combinations to settle, while also affording all squad members the necessary game time during the Rugby Championship.
After last Saturday’s hit-out against a hapless World XV outfit, the real preparation begins for the Boks when they take on the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.
Meyer has made just one change to his starting lineup, with Schalk Burger coming in at No 8, but it’s likely that he will look to give the entire squad some game time over the next two Tests against the All Blacks and Argentina.
A final World Cup warm-up game will take place against Argentina in Buenos Aires on 15 August, but Meyer is expected to rest the majority of his first-team players for that clash.
While the next month will provide important opportunities to test out squad depth, it’s also crucial that there is enough time for new combinations to gel.
Player management will be vital, with the fear of injuries sure to be ever-present in the minds of all coaches as the World Cup draws nearer.
One of the Boks’ new-look partnerships is the exciting 10-12-13 combination of Handré Pollard, Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel, which has been retained for the Brisbane Test.
'Handré didn’t play in the last two Super Rugby games, so the thing for me now is about combinations,’ Meyer commented. ‘Handré, Damian and Jesse were playing together for the first time [against the World XV], so you want to allow combinations to settle.’
Meyer said it was also important for Pat Lambie to regain match fitness after missing a large part of the Vodacom Super Rugby season as the result of a neck injury.
‘Pat [Lambie] also hasn’t played a lot, so we want to give him game time. We have to box clever, it’s not ideal that in the backs some guys haven’t played much together, but the great thing with someone like Pat is that he can also play at 15, and can get game time there.’
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Gallo Images