Rassie Erasmus is happy with the training the Boks have done in New Zealand. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

AUCKLAND – South Africa have been hard at work in New Zealand in preparation for next Saturday’s Test against Argentina's Pumas in the high altitude conditions of Salta.

The Boks concluded their training camp in New Zealand with a final field session at the Ponsonby Rugby Club ground in Auckland on Friday morning.

SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, explained the Springboks’ decision to remain in New Zealand, and also confirmed that they had achieved what they set out to do.

“We chose to stay behind in Auckland (after the Wellington Test) mainly for two reasons,” said Erasmus.

“Firstly, it was to cut down on the amount of travelling time between New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

“And secondly, we had some good team-building exercises, while we used the time together to fit in some extra training time with the squad.

“We have grown into a very tight unit, so looking back at the past week I think we ticked both those boxes.”

Almost half of the squad and management are set to travel to Argentina later on Friday night from Auckland, while the rest of the South African travelling party is due to fly out to Buenos Aires on Sunday.

The full squad will train together again on Monday morning in the Argentine capital, where the South Africans will be staying until next Thursday before flying out to Salta.

Next Saturday's Test against the Pumas is the Springboks’ final match of the shortened 2019 Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

Following the Salta encounter, the Springboks and Argentina will meet for a second week in a row on August 17 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, in what will be the South Africans’ final home match before the official announcement of the 2019 Rugby World Cup squad on Monday, August 26.

The Springboks have a one-point lead over holders New Zealand in the build-up to the final round of the Rugby Championship next weekend.

Australia and New Zealand play in Perth in next Saturday’s early match and that will be followed by the Salta encounter between the Pumas and Springboks.

The Springbok team for next Saturday’s match in Salta will be named on Wednesday afternoon. 

African News Agency (ANA)