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Springboks ‘grew’ from tough Lions series but face selection dilemmas for Argentina

Deon Davids. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)


Deon Davids. (Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images)

  • Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids said the team grew as a group during the tough British & Irish Lions series that South Africa won 2-1 with a tough-as-teak third Test triumph.
  • The Boks now face numerous selection posers for Los Pumas, including whether to rest players and bring others back from injury.
  • The Springboks will name their match 23 for the Argentina game on Tuesday at 13:30.

Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids says the team grew as a group during the tough British & Irish Lions series that South Africa won 2-1 with a tough-as-teak third Test triumph in Cape Town last weekend.

After only one night of popping victory champagne, the Boks had to travel to Gqeberha to prepare for their opening Rugby Championship encounter against Argentina at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium this Saturday.

Forwards coach Davids on Monday applauded his pack and the general squad forwards who didn’t play big minutes but trained at the right intensity to prepare the matchday team.

READ | Deon Davids hails ‘champion’ Trevor Nyakane, says Ox Nche back in training

“I’m proud of the players’ performance. It was a very tough series, very competitive up front and we grew as a group from the first Test against Georgia to the Lions series,” Davids said.

“There was a consistent process of us trying to improve but having so much experience in the side helped a lot.

“The willingness of the players to share their experience with the new guys coming in was definitely encouraging.

“Also, the guys that assisted the forward pack, who did not play every week but helped prepare our starters for each Test match, played a huge role to paint pictures of what we can expect and assisting us to find solutions.

“It made sure that the starting pack could perform in scrums and lineouts. Those factors were very important to achieve what we’ve achieved.

“The forwards handled big moments in the game.”

The Boks now face numerous selection posers ahead of the clash against Los Pumas this weekend after having to quickly come down from the high of dispatching the Lions.

Locks Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert played big minutes in the three Tests, as did skipper Siya Kolisi.

Pieter-Steph du Toit’s shoulder injury, which led to him missing the third Test, also complicates selection as he awaits his medical assessment.

Duane Vermeulen is also on the waiting list after recovering from an ankle injury, as is scrumhalf Faf de Klerk.

“We come from a very competitive series and we have a lot guys that performed well when they got an opportunity.

“The players’ performances, the player workload, injuries and teams we play against, all those factors play a role in our consideration for team selection.

“Those are things we’ve looked at from the start of the season. We’ve understood and looked at different scenarios during the Lions series and how things will unfold in the Rugby Championship and, later, the end-of-year tour.

“As for this week, we will consider player rotation or continuing with players based on their performances or building more depth in the squad.

“Those are all the things we will consider in making the final decision for the team this coming weekend.”

The Springboks will name their match 23 for the Argentina game on Tuesday at 13:30.

Springbok squad:

Forwards  

Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nché, Trevor Nyakane, Joseph Dweba, Johan Grobbelaar, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, RG SnymanSiya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, Dan du Preez, Rynhardt Elstadt.

Backs 

Faf de Klerk, Jaden Hendrikse, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handré Pollard, Morné Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Rosko Specman, Damian Willemse, Frans Steyn.


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