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Back to basics


New Springbok coach will ensure a physical approach to bring back opponents' fear but it will be a smart gameplan, too

You're not done yet: Rassie Erasmus chats to one of his Bok players at practice yesterday. Picture: BackpagePix

RASSIE Erasmus’ Springboks will have a physical, hard edge to them, but that doesn’t mean they won’t also play smart attacking rugby.

The new Bok boss’s first assignment is in Washington DC this weekend when his team take on Wales on neutral ground. That match will be followed by three Tests against England in Joburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

Erasmus, who yesterday named lock Pieter-Steph du Toit to captain the side that will take on the Welsh, said the Boks would go back to their traditional strengths under his guidance.

“Everyone who comes into this job wants to find the right balance, but it will be great if we can keep the traditional things about us intact that which the opposition fear in us, but also be smarter in our game,” said the Bok boss.

“We all know what I’m talking about our physicality is always something we’ve prided ourselves in. We need to maintain that part of our game, but we also need to have something else tactically if it (the physical game) doesn’t come off because physicality only at this level won’t win you Test matches.”

Erasmus said he’d been pleased with the new attacking style of rugby the local teams have been playing in Super Rugby. “It’s been great to see how the franchises, the Bulls and Sharks, have adopted a more attacking mindset this year; it’s just unfortunate that while we’ve been doing that (attacking), we’ve also leaked a lot of tries. That’s where I need to find the right balance.”

Erasmus’ 26-man squad for the Wales Test includes 16 forwards and 10 backs. The 17 players who won’t feature in the US will remain in Joburg to continue with their preparations for the first England Test at Ellis Park next Saturday. Erasmus made it clear there was no “A” and “B” team and that every one of the men included to face Wales, were also in the running to take on England.

“A lot will depend on what happens in America this weekend. Injuries will have a bearing on the make-up of the squad for the first Test, performance, too so there are definitely still spots available for the first England Test.

Erasmus said he’d only trim his squad to 32 players after the first Test against England next weekend.