Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
22 Oct 2021
7:34 am

Spice added to Bok tour as home nations target revenge

Ross Roche

A number of injuries to regular Bok starters will also allow players who haven’t received much game time a chance to cement themselves in the set-up.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and captain Siya Kolisi in discussion during a training session. Picture: Gallo Images

The Springboks must get used to being public enemy number one as they build towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, with teams gunning for them due to their status as world champions and the current top ranked team in the world.

The home nations of Wales and Scotland will be eager to pick up a big result on the Boks’ end-of-year tour, while the match against England will be the first meeting between the two sides since the World Cup final.

Adding to the spice will be the fact that many of the players featuring for all three teams will have been part of the British and Irish Lions squad that went down to the Boks in the three-match series earlier this year.

ALSO READ: Nienaber says UK tour will be like Springboks v Lions – Part 2

“I think there will be a bit of spice added with teams trying to rectify what happened in the British and Irish Lions series,” said Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber.

“I think the one thing we have to get used to as a Springbok side is that we are the reigning world champions and are currently ranked number one in the world, so teams are going to come for us regardless because we are the team that everyone wants to test themselves against.

“As we found out in the Rugby Championship… it is the nature of the beast that teams want to beat the best and are going to come for us regardless.”

A number of injuries to regular Bok starters will also allow players who haven’t received much game time a chance to shine and cement themselves in the set-up with an eye on the World Cup in a couple of years.

ALSO READ: Injured Bok star Faf de Klerk out for four months

“If you look at the players that have been lost due to injury – Frans Malherbe, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Faf de Klerk and Cheslin Kolbe – that group is five players who, if they are on form and medically fit, will make the match day 23 if not the starting 15,” Nienaber said.

“I mentioned them because they have all been in a World Cup winning team so they are all big losses, but other injuries include Rynhardt Elstadt and Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg.

“But the positive thing is we have the ability to create a bit of squad depth and experience with those players out, and the next group must step in and fill their roles.

“Players have different attributes and we must make sure we play towards the strength of not only our team but the player as well, so we may have to make a few changes to our game plan as well.”