Bok boss throws Cheetahs a bone
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus has stayed true to his word with the latest visit to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Super Rugby franchises – Bulls, Stormes, Sharks and Lions – may get the most traction when it comes to filling up the Springbok spots, Director of Rugby and Springbok head coach Erasmus has made it his bid to show interest in the Pro14 teams the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.
After taking over as head coach in January 2018, Erasmus has outlined a few objects he wants to achieve in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup in September.
Part of the process is meeting with the various coaches and outlining what he expects from the respective teams which included visits to Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.
Recently Erasmus told OFM Sport, players such as the Cheetahs captain, Shaun Venter, is being watched closely indeed.
Venter, 31-years-old, has produced some noteworthy Pro14 performances and also accumulated Super Rugby caps during his tenure at the Kings.
However, with Springboks scrumhalf stocks in the shape of Francois de Klerk, Emborse Papier, Ivan van Zyl and Ross Cronje or Louis Schreuder manufacturing a space for Venter is going to be a massive challenge.
“We might make a turn at the Cheetahs as often as we would like to and this purely because we were only appointed last year.
“Obviously we are analysing all the Pro14 games and I coached in this particular league as well. I know that positions nine, two, five, ten and fifteen are positions in the Pro14 that really challenging because of the conditions, the different refereeing interpretations, and different pressures.
“It’s a really a different style that a player must get used to, and Shaun Venter is definitely a player that I am looking at.
“Unfortunately the Pro14 is one those competitions that were if a guy does really well consistently, you know that he will probably make it at Test match level.
“But, if on the flip side of the coin, if a player struggles in 50% of the games, he probably won’t do well at Test match level. This is because this competition is much different to Super Rugby.
“In the Pro14 it is all about tactical awareness and the handling pressure.
“We are looking at all of these players, but we want consistency from these players.”
Erasmus also stated that for Cheetahs players to be noticed it’s important for them to win games away from home, especially in Europe.
The Cheetahs will be heading to Europe next for a Pro14 tour which will include games against Connacht, Scarlets and Leinster.
“The most important thing about playing international rugby is to be consistent. I admit that we haven’t gotten that right either. The big thing is to do it week in, week out.
“Sometimes you get a player who is fantastic and steals seven or eight balls in a game, but his lineout throwing or scrummaging is terrible, but we just the flashy stuff.
“The consistency must be in all areas of a player’s game, and then it really does help if a team is consistent in winning, and has a winning culture as well. So, it is a combination of both aspects.
The Springboks will also be holding a final training camp in Bloemfontein ahead of their departure to the World Cup.
According to Erasmus a group of up to 37 players will be spending a week to ten days in Bloemfontein to do the final fine-tuning before heading to Japan.
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