The Springbok team is not a developmental platform, but a performance platform, according to Bok coach Jacques Nienaber, with the goal to win as many games as possible and develop players when the opportunity presents itself.
With the Boks welcoming Wales for a three Test incoming tour in July before embarking on the Rugby Championship, the team will be looking to pick up some solid momentum against the visitors from Europe, and will thus not be looking to blood players in the first few games.
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“The Springboks are a performance platform. You have to perform, you are representing your country, and you are representing a brand that’s been there for over a hundred years. So I don’t think that is necessarily the platform to develop,” explained Nienaber.
“SA A games are a great platform to develop. I’m not saying that if results go our way or if injuries happen, that there might be opportunities within the Springboks to give players an opportunity to get exposure to top international games.
“But I think the key is that whenever you represent your country and the Springboks you want to win. That is why we play for the Springboks, to make the country proud.”
Few surprises expected
If the Boks can win the opening two games against the Welsh and seal the series, Nienaber hinted that there may then be room to experiment with the team in the final match, however if it is a decider they will be going with their strongest team.
They are then unlikely to give any fringe players a run, unless there are injuries, during the Rugby Championship, however the end of year tour will see a few doors opened for new players, especially with some SA A games set to be played.
“There are SA A games lined up for the end of year tour, where we can be a little bit creative and start introducing younger guys,” said Nienaber.
“But obviously we have a plan set for the whole year where we can possibly bring in some younger players and introduce them to the high performance environment of Test match rugby. But that will be dependent on our results and will also depend on injuries.
“Our plan might be to only play someone in the SA A games on the end of year tour. But if we pick up two injuries he might be starting a Test match as soon as the first Test against Wales. So we do have a plan, but that plan changes quickly, based on results and injuries.”