The first wave of Springboks en-route to Wellington, New Zealand last Thursday. Photo: @Springboks on twitter

WELLINGTON – The Springboks have assembled an extended squad in New Zealand ahead of upcoming Rugby Championship matches against the All Blacks and Argentina's Pumas.

Last Thursday 14 Springbok players flew out to New Zealand and many of them could be considered first players.

On Saturday evening coach Rassie Erasmus and a group of eight winged their way to Wellington and were scheduled to arrive on Monday.

The third wave of 10 players flew out on Sunday. Additionally, four more players will fly out on Monday so that eventually there will be 36 players in New Zealand. 

The Boks' travel plans have been designed to manage the hectic travel period in the build-up to the World Cup.

After Saturday's Test in Wellington, the Boks will remain in camp there until they fly out shortly before their final Rugby Championship clash against the Pumas on August 10.

Springbok flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit, who played in South Africa's 35-17 win over Australia at the weekend, said the plan was to ensure that the team would be well-prepared for Saturday's Test.

"We're much better prepared than this time last year," said Du Toit. "We've had lots of time together and the players and coaches now understand and know one another better. 

"In team meetings, everyone now contributes, speaks up, makes suggestions, and everyone's just comfortable, and that plays a massive role. Rassie's main focus last year was to beat New Zealand in New Zealand, and we did that.

"This year the main focus is to win the World Cup, but that said, we always go out to win every game.

"Imagine if we managed to win again in New Zealand next weekend, what a confidence-booster that would be for us ahead of the World Cup."  

African News Agency (ANA)