VIDEO: Stick opens up on SA's succession plan
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said there is a simple plan in place to help get fullback Aphelele Fassi and other youngsters ready for the rigours of Test matches.
Fassi, 23, was one of eight uncapped players included in Jacques Nienaber’s 46-man Bok squad earlier this month and he is considered a future replacement for the 31-year-old Willie le Roux.
Stick hinted that the youngsters in the squad are not just there to make up the numbers this year and they will get game time at Test level at some point this year.
“The most important thing is that we still have guys like Willie le Roux,” Stick told reporters during an online media briefing on Thursday.
“He has a got a lot of experience and he understands what it takes to be at the top.
“The biggest thing for us was to give an opportunity to youngsters like Aphelele [Fassi].
“He needs to feed off Willie’s experience, so we don’t have to start from scratch when Willie retires.
“Those youngsters [in the squad] are asking very good questions when it comes to the experienced players.
“They go to and interact with them and they train with them.
“They want to understand what are these things that are they seeing in the game.”
Stick added: “Aphelele Fassi doesn’t have to wait seven years to have the same experience that Willie has.
“If Willie can help that youngster now, then in two to three months when he gets the opportunity to play a Test match at least he knows what it takes to be there.
“We really want to make sure we build depth in our squad and make sure that if the opportunity comes and [head coach] Jacques [Nienaber] wants to select some of the youngsters, those youngsters will fit in nicely with the experienced players.”
Stick said the Boks will not hinder the development of the newcomers by throwing them together in a Test match.
“You don’t want to play Fassi, [Rosko] Specman and Yaw [Penxe] at the same time.
“We will not be helping them if we do that, because of the [intensity of] Test-match level.
“You want to make sure that you build confidence by making them work with the experienced players around them,” the assistant coach said.