No one is guaranteed a place in the Springbok team‚ says coach Erasmus

Head Coach Rassie Erasmus of the Springboks during the South African national mens rugby team media briefing at Livorno Room, Tsogo Sun Montecasino on June 04, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Head Coach Rassie Erasmus of the Springboks during the South African national mens rugby team media briefing at Livorno Room, Tsogo Sun Montecasino on June 04, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Veteran hooker Bismarck du Plessis and fullback François Steyn of Montpellier in the French Top 14 will not be considered for the first Test between the Springboks and England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed on Monday evening that the two players‚ who played and lost 29-13 in the Top 14 to Castres on Saturday‚ would not arrive in the country in time to be considered for the crunch series opener.

“I have said it in the past that no one is guaranteed a place in the team‚" Erasmus said on Monday evening.

"We followed and monitored them at the weekend and we are not sure about their fitness and conditioning.

“They played a game at the weekend and they must do their exit medicals according to the regulations.

"I am expecting Bismarck on Tuesday and Frans on Wednesday and I will not consider them for this week because they would not have trained with us for at least two weeks.

"It is also not going to be fair to the guys who have been in camp and training all this time.

"The second point is I want to see how they look like when they get here."

Asked if he has an idea of his starting eleven for the weekend‚ Erasmus said the fifteen players who stayed behind in SA when he took a weakened side to face Wales in the US last weekend would be in the mix.

“The fifteen guys who stayed behind in South African last weekend will be in the mix and there will be another eight from those who went to the US in the reckoning.

"We just have to make the final analysis to make sure that we have the right combinations‚” he said‚ adding that he was frustrated by the loss to Wales. “I said it was going to take us time to do all the things right.

"But it is not an excuse because we knew from the beginning what we needed to do.

"We struggled to get cohesion against Wales in the first half.

"The reason we travelled late last week was to have more training time with all the players in South Africa and the positive of that…… maybe we will see against England.

“I saw the positives in the second half when we brought in the substitutes and they were fresh.

"But still it was frustrating because it was wet and humid.

"It was a battle and I was not shocked but I was frustrated.”

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