JOHANNESBURG – New Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus has said he will continue to back the youngsters against England.
And, he said after his team had beaten England 42-39 in the first Test at Ellis Park on Saturday that he’s happy to take a few chances going forward if it helps the Boks become a better team.
“There are going to be challenges in the next few months, and we’re going to have to make brave calls,” said Erasmus.
On Saturday at Ellis Park, Erasmus picked three debutants - wings Aphiwe Dyantyi and S’bu Nkosi and lock RG Snyman - outside centre Lukhanyo Am had one cap, while Faf de Klerk, Jean-Luc du Preez, Franco Mostert, Wilco Louw and Bongi Mbonambi of the starting team had less than 20 caps.
Several players on the bench were also new to the Test arena, having only played a handful of games.
“We will lose some matches, but we have to get guys capped at Test level ... put them under pressure. They must experience what Test pressure is like ... our wings, Thomas du Toit, Louw, Akker (van der Merwe); we must put these guys in these situations.
“We took a chance on Faf, but what be brought was awesome; the same with Willie (le Roux). The youngsters will learn. We must keep on being brave. Even if we lost this game, I’d pick the guys again ... we can’t go to the World Cup with 14 or 15 guys who we trust; we want a squad of 31 who we can trust.”
One of the areas where he may mix things up this weekend in the second Test in Bloemfontein is at loose-forward where the Boks seem to need a specialist fetcher.
The problem is South Africa’s two leading ball-poachers this season - the Bulls duo of Roelof Smit and Marco van Staden - picked up injuries. However, Erasmus could again go with the same starting team, having released specialist openside Kwagga Smith from the group yesterday.
The Lions man, Ox Nche, Jason Jenkins, Nizaam Carr, Travis Ismaiel, Cameron Wright and Curwin Bosch have been released to their franchises.
Furthermore, prop Trevor Nyakane has been withdrawn from the squad due to injury.