VIDEO: Bok team to face Ireland has already been 'selected'
The preparations for South Africa’s crunch Pool B match against Ireland in Paris on Saturday will start in earnest on Monday.
However, Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber revealed that their ‘selection views’ – on the team to face the men from the Emerald Isle – will be shared with the players before then.
Speaking after his team had put 76 unanswered points past a hapless Romania in Bordeaux on Sunday, the Bok coach said that they will now turn their attention to how to beat the world’s top-ranked team.
“From a selection point of view, we’re open and honest with the players,” he told @rugby365com.
“They know where our heads are at and how we look at things.
“We’ll share that with them even tonight [Sunday] – what we are thinking,” he said after the emphatic win in Bordeaux.
“We certainly have an idea in our minds what we want to do for the next game.”
Nienaber added that there is ‘good internal competition’ within the Bok group.
“It is a very positive competition,” he added.
(WATCH as Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explains to @king365ed why they have already made up their collective minds about the team to face Ireland…)
Nienaber used hooker Bongi Mbonambi as an example of how senior players help others in their position, despite the intense competition for starting places.
“There is nice competition and there is not a big gap between the players.”
He said those players ‘unlucky’ not to make the matchday squad will have the vital role of helping the matchday squad prepare.
“They will play the role of being ‘Ireland’ [in opposed training sessions] to ensure we get the right picture and are well prepared for Ireland.”
One name that is unlikely to be in the starting XV is recalled flyhalf Handre Pollard.
On Sunday he was called into the squad to fill the vacancy created by hooker Malcolm Marx – who was ruled out of the World Cup in France earlier this week due to a knee injury.
However, the coaching staff would most likely afford him the ability to ease himself back into the Bok system.
They may consider playing him off the bench, but Manie Libbok will wear the No.10 jersey.
Speaking about the match against Ireland and potential quarterfinal opponents, he said: “It will be a big game in terms of who finishes one and two in the pool, but there are still games to play after this match.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead.
“If it’s Italy, if it’s France or New Zealand, it’s going to be a tough quarterfinal, it doesn’t matter who we play.”