Home Sport Erasmus building foundation for 2027 World Cup ‘threepeat’

Erasmus building foundation for 2027 World Cup ‘threepeat’

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The World Cup in Australia is still three years away, but this was the first step towards building for that tournament, where the Springboks will look to assert their dominance again.

Rassie Erasmus addressed the media in Cape Town on Tuesday following the recent alignment camp. Picture: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

Leighton Koopman

The Springboks’ first alignment camp in Cape Town comes to an end today after 43 players had the opportunity over the last couple of days to be part of head coach Rassie Erasmus’ first plans as they build up to the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

Although a short one, there would have been key information shared with the invited players that excluded those currently plying their trade overseas. Independent Media’s Leighton Koopman looks at five outcomes the Boks would have wanted from the alignment camp.

Understanding Rassie’s roadmap to the ‘threepeat’

The World Cup in Australia is still three years away, but this was the first step towards building for that tournament, where the Springboks will look to assert their dominance again.

It will take baby steps, though, as the current crop’s main focus for 2024 will be the series against Ireland. They were the last team to beat the Boks, and Erasmus will have been studying them to prepare for July’s series.

South Africa made history in France last year, becoming the first country to win four Webb Ellis Cups. Their route to going back-to-back-to-back started on Tuesday where Erasmus laid out bits of his masterplan to his players.

New faces, same Bok set-up

Getting first-time attendees like Henco van Wyk, Morne van den Berg, Neethling Fouche, Andre-Hugo Venter, Celimpilo Gumede, Cameron Hanekom, and Marnus van der Merwe on the same page should be another priority.

Yes, they only had two days to familiarise themselves with the Springbok set-up and how Erasmus likes to do things and get things done, but if the new players can take in as much as they can, the Bok coaches will be happy.

The players will find out quite quickly at this alignment camp if they have what the Springboks require from them off the field, and not just on it.

Getting to know the new coaches

It will be vital to get used to new coaches Tony Brown and Jerry Flannery as soon as possible.

They are new voices in the Bok set-up, but there’s been excitement among the players about their addition. The voice of former international referee Jaco Peyper will be new too, although all of the players have played under his authority at some stage of their careers.

They were brought on board to sharpen up some key areas of the Bok game plan. Flannery and what he brings on defence will be under heavy scrutiny, and how the players take to him will be very important, especially after the success former coach Jacques Nienaber brought.

Identifying replacements for senior players

It will be a first step for Erasmus and his assistants to identify the players who will have to step into the roles of players close to retirement and who will probably not make the World Cup in three years.

A bunch of Boks have won back-to-back titles, but 2027 will most likely be a tournament too far for them. There are crucial positions that the Springbok coaches will have to fill over the next few years to ensure the team is ready to defend its crown.

Hooker and lock are two positions in the forwards that spring to mind where the next breakthrough is needed. At the back, centre and scrumhalf will be the slots to fill this season or the next.

Embracing the hiccups that come with building again

A couple of Bok coaches, like Jacques Nienaber, have left the system, and there are bound to be some hiccups along the way, especially in the first few Tests, as the world champions get used to Erasmus as coach and the additions to his staff.

But they’ve always been able to cope with the change, and it’s something that will be spoken about during their indoor sessions at the camp.

Adapting to building in certain areas will be key as the Boks prepare for what Ireland will bring in July. They will have a target on their backs as champions and the No.1 side in the world.

That change in the system can either make or break them.

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