Nienaber opens up about Boks' challenging Australasian trip
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber revealed some of the challenges his team will face during the Australasian leg of the Rugby Championship.
Following this weekend’s Rugby Championship Round Two encounter with Argentina in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the Springboks immediately head for Australia.
South Africa face the Wallabies (September 12 and 18) and New Zealand (September 25 and October 2) in the next two legs of the tournament.
The Springboks’ Rugby Championship fixtures against All Blacks are scheduled to be played in Dunedin and Auckland.
However, with New Zealand’s borders closed for the rest of the year, the historic 100th Test could be played in Perth.
Speaking to reporters – after naming his team to face Los Pumas in Port Elizabeth – Nienaber explained the implications of the border restrictions on his squad and their travel schedule.
Nienaber said they will have to travel with a 42-man squad, instead of 37 players – as originally planned.
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“What people don’t understand is that we are currently in a [COVID] testing regime,” he said, adding that the process makes it tough to get people and standby players called into the squad at short notice.
“If we pick up injuries, even our standby players are in very strict bubble regulations.
“There are certain blood-testing requirements we need to adhere to in order to get on a plane and fly to Australia.
“It is possible to get somebody in, but in order to do so, they need to be in a specific testing regime – according to SANZAAR’s requirements – while he is in South Africa.
“The player then, when he flies to Australia, must isolate there [Down Under] for 14 days.
“This means that if a player was to join the camp at this stage, they will only be available for the last Test in Australia.
“That is why we are travelling with this big 42 man-squad.
Hopefully we don’t pick up any injuries this weekend [ against Los Pumas],” Nienaber added.
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The coach revealed the Boks will travel with the Los Pumas team to Australia.
“We will fly in a bubble plane with Argentina from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and from there get on a plane to Australia,” Nienaber said.
“We will stay in our bubble from when we leave here until we get to Australia.”