Cape Town - South Africa will use next month's tour of Britain and Ireland to give a young side the opportunity to experience northern hemisphere conditions in advance of the 2015 World Cup, coach Heyneke Meyer said on Wednesday.
The 31-man squad, who will play Ireland on Nov. 10 before taking on Scotland a week later and then England on Nov. 24, total 625 test caps with captain Jean de Villiers the most experienced player with 81 tests.
“The most important thing for me about this tour is that the World Cup is going to be in England and you want to see which players can play in those tough conditions.” Meyer told a news conference.
“It's a different type of game, and you want to see which guys can play away from home and which are mentally tough to tour. After this year I'll know exactly which are the players going forward.”
Meyer said he hoped by the time the World Cup came around he would have “24-year-olds who have around 35 test caps under their belt”.
He added that recent law changes, which state that two props must be included amongst a team's substitutes, would benefit his team in the wet conditions they can expect.
“I am happy with the fact that I can include a full front row on the bench. It is going to be a tough forward battle and they scrum for penalties (in the northern hemisphere),” he said.
Meyer was also quick to play down suggestions that Ireland would be weakened because skipper Brian O'Driscoll and hooker Rory Best will miss the match with the Springboks because of injury.
“It's a pity those guys are out, but we've lost our best players too,” he said. “They are quality players and obviously you want to play against the best but it is a part of rugby at this stage.
“They've still got a quality and a very experienced team and it will be tough.”