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VIDEO: The surprising number of players ruled out of first Ireland Test

VIDEO: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is not wishing ill will on the Bulls, but he is desperately hoping to have some key players back ahead of the first Ireland Test next month.


A loss in the semifinal of the United Rugby Championship against Leinster at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday would allow some Bulls players to be in contention for South Africa’s season opener against Wales at Twickenham next weekend.

Erasmus told a media briefing that Bulls players could add massive value in certain positions.

However, it is also the extraordinary large list of injuries that is having him edgy.

Erasmus confirmed that Steven Kitshoff, Lood de Jager, Jean Kleyn, Jean-Luc du Preez, Jaden Hendrikse, Henco van Wyk, Canan Moodie, Damian Willemse and Kurt-Lee Arendseare all currently injured.

Not only were they not considered for next week’s outing at Twickenham, but will also miss the opening Test of the two-match series against Ireland next month.

After next’s weeks Twickenham outing, the Boks host Ireland in a much-anticipated series at Loftus Versfeld (July 6) and Kings Park (July 13).

(Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus reveals the surprisingly large number of injuries…)

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The matchday squad for the opening Test of the season, against Wales at Twickenham on Saturday, June 22, will be announced on Tuesday.

It would still be possible for certain Bulls players to start training with the Springboks next week should they suffer a loss to Leinster on Saturday, Erasmus confirmed.

He referred to certain experienced players who have been in the Bok set-up for some time, like Wille le Roux.

“In certain positions, definitely,” the Bok boss said.


“We will announce the team internally on Sunday.

“In certain positions, we will have a few young guys alongside each other.

“Some of the Bulls players understand how we want to play and change a few things,” Erasmus added

“Most of them have been at the alignment camps.

“I don’t think every player involved with the Ireland Test will be drafted in for the Welsh Test, because they haven’t trained with us,” the Springbok coach explained.

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With injuries to a host of backline players, Erasmus explained what the train of thought within the Springbok camp was.

“We already have quite a few injuries in the outside backs, on the wings.

“Cheslin [Kolbe] is already touch and go, [Makazole] Mapimpi is fine – we might be thin there but then we’ve got [Quan] Horn, [Aphelele] Fassi.

“But a guy like Willie le Roux might be somebody who can just help settle down the combinations.

“Depending on how the guys do [at training on Friday] and injury-wise, it wouldn’t ideal for them [Bulls players] to have three training sessions and play a Test match against Wales.”

Erasmus felt the semifinal would be tough going for the Bulls, but he was holding thumbs that they keep the South African flag flying in the European competition.

“I think it’s going to be really, really tough for the Bulls to pull this match through.

“We are fully behind them.

“If it means we have to play without the Bulls players but a South African franchise goes through, I think that is very important.

“It will boost us overall.”

Speaking about the 11 rookies drafted into the Bok squad, Erasmus said it was up to them to show what they have.

“These boys have a chance now to have been at the alignment camps, virtual and in person in Cape Town.

“Now they had a full week in camp [with the Boks], and next week a Test match week.

“It’s all about how quickly they understand, and how quickly things come naturally.

“The reason we picked them is [because] they’ve got something about them.

“It’s also up to our coaches to bring to the party what they have.”


In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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