Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
24 Feb 2021
12:19 pm

Chance of facing British and Irish Lions will lift local players – Van Rooyen

Rudolph Jacobs

"They will want to hit top form early on to show Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber that they are in contention for selection."

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, will be keeping an eye on the local talent from this week. Picture: Getty Images

The Springbok brains trust has been in regular contact with the Lions on players who could come into the picture for the series against the British and Irish Lions in July – whether it takes place locally or abroad.

Although Lions head coach Cash van Rooyen didn’t single out names, the likes of fullback Tiaan Swanepoel, centre Wandisile Simelane, prop Carlu Sadie and flank Vincent Tshituka could count among the men the Boks are looking at.

Van Rooyen said he is in regular contact with Bok coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.

“Jacques is very proactive in terms of his communication with us so we talk often about players they might be keeping an eye on,” said Van Rooyen.

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The Lions coach added there was some exciting young talent coming through his squad and that the Lions series would serve as a motivating factor in the weeks ahead.

“It will no doubt lift the performance of the players. They will want to hit top form early on to show Rassie and Jacques that they are in contention for selection,” said Van Rooyen.

In a change to the forthcoming “competition” – the so-called Preparation Series starting this weekend – teams will play only every 10 days, as opposed to working on a seven-day match cycle. Van Rooyen said this would lift the quality of the game locally.

“I think it was a great move by the decision-makers,” said Van Rooyen. “Previously it was tough… during some weeks we literally only had a session and a half to prepare. It has become disruptive because of the Covid testing and protocols,” he said. “Now we can look forward to full training cycles.”

The Lions start their preparation series with a game against the Pumas at Ellis Park on Friday.

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