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Springboks will tune their focus in second alignment camp

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The first Springbok Test of 2024 is exactly a month away, against Wales at Twickenham in London on June 22 – and that is a match which falls outside of the official international window.

‘With our first Test around the corner, it will be great to have everyone together,’ says Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus. Picture: CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU, AFP

THE TIME has come for the Springboks to “start diving deeper” in their plans, says coach Rassie Erasmus, with the second alignment camp of the year kicking off in Cape Town on Thursday.

The first Test this year is exactly a month away, against Wales at Twickenham in London on June 22 – and that is a match which falls outside of the official international window.

That means most of the overseas-based stars such as captain Siya Kolisi, flyhalf Handré Pollard, lock RG Snyman, props Trevor Nyakane and Thomas du Toit, No.8 Jasper Wiese and centre André Esterhuizen won’t be available for selection – although it remains to be seen if the Japanese contingent that includes flanks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Kwagga Smith, wing Cheslin Kolbe and centres Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel would be allowed to feature.

So, Erasmus will have to bring in some new faces for the world champions against Wales, before the big two-Test series against Ireland on July 6 and 13 in Pretoria and Durban respectively.

That will be followed by a one-off Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein on July 20, before the Rugby Championship starts against the Wallabies in Brisbane on August 10.

Erasmus will also have to make a few wise decisions on the captaincy for the June Wales clash, as well as the long-term skipper – whether that’s Kolisi or someone based in South Africa.

SA Rugby said in a statement on Tuesday that the Bok coaches had a strategic session last weekend to prepare for the alignment camp, where 38 players will attend – except for those from the Sharks who are involved in Friday’s Challenge Cup final against Gloucester in London.

“We are moving into a new cycle as a group as our first Test is only a few weeks away, so it is vital that we start diving deeper into our on-field planning,” Erasmus said.

“In the first two camps, we presented our wider plans to the players and introduced the new ideas presented by all the coaches – and especially the new additions to the coaching team in Tony Brown, Jerry Flannery and Jaco Peyper, so we are in a good position to start zooming into different areas of the game in more detail.

“With our first Test around the corner, it will be great to have everyone together, and ensure that the coaches and players are 100% aligned in terms of what we want to achieve and how we plan to approach the season.”

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