CAPE TOWN - The Springboks could field a new-look team in June's one-off Test against Wales in Washington, with head coach Rassie Erasmus "excited" about several of the talented young players breaking through in Super Rugby.
Erasmus, South African Rugby Union director of rugby, said on Wednesday at his arrival at Cape Town International Airport that he was also prepared name a “young gun” as captain if some of the more experienced captaincy options are unfit.
After three “alignment” camps with the franchise teams, the former Munster coach explained that he won’t pick a weaker team for their game against Wales and a full-strength one against England, although the Test against Wales will serve as preparation for Jones’ visit.
“We can experiment a bit against Wales, but we definitely won’t pick an A side and a B side. It will be equally strong sides,” he said. “I’m excited about Aphiwe (Dyantyi) and I’m excited about Madosh (Tambwe) - I’m excited to see if he goes to New Zealand to see how he’ll handle that.
"Damian Willemse has been excellent, but somewhere he has to go through that pressure phase - that’s going to happen somewhere. You know how form goes, he struggled a bit two weeks ago.
“Adriaan Strauss is also playing well currently, and so is Trevor (Nyakane). I’m excited about the overall talent we have. You don’t always have to win your Super Rugby games to spot a talent.”
.@Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus spoke on Wednesday about SA players in Europe and whether they will feature for the Boks in 2018. Video: @WynonaLouw @IOL #Springboks #RassieErasmus pic.twitter.com/HqLXGVUiPV
One area that Erasmus certainly has to prioritise is transformation. It is an area that hasn’t received enough attention. Erasmus has a target of 45 percent black player representation over the season.
“Our targets are 45 percent this year. If we don’t reach it at the end of the season then I didn’t pass one of my KPIs. So it’s as easy as that,” Erasmus said. “I know you can have five injuries and then you’re going to have to make a plan.
"Unfortunately, or fortunately, we know now that we have to make a plan. If I don’t make it I’ll be in trouble. It is what it is, we must work around it. At the end of the day there’s 28 guys who are performing well and there’s only place for 23.
"So yes, it would be great if they have better representation in their (franchise) teams, but I also understand that sometimes they are also in trouble with injuries or players who lack form or players who are coming back.”