KSA Shark ©

Back-up Boks to play in Namibian warm-up

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :2009 Lions Tour, In the news, Springboks on 27 Apr 2009 at 07:57
Tagged with : , , ,

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, with the bulk of his first-choice players likely to be involved in the Super 14 play-offs, plans to put his back-up team on trial against Namibia next month.

The match between a South African XV and a Namibian invitational selection in Windhoek on May 29 be De Villiers’ only match opportunity before the Boks’ three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions in June and July.

Jan De Koning of Rugby 365 writes that the Bulls and Sharks, who are likely to provide as much as 80 percent of the Bok team for the Lions series, are perfectly placed o reach the Super 14 play-offs – the semifinals being on the weekend of May 22 and 23 and the Final a week later.

That means, with the Namibian game in the middle of that, De Villiers won’t have many of his frontline players available.

But he is happy that the game is a great opportunity to introduce some new faces to the Bok culture and also trial some back-up players.

“If something happens with my first choice players, I must be happy that my back-up players will be able to make the step up,” De Villiers told rugby365.com on an interview.

“The same goes for those players that have not played with the [Bok] team.

“That is why I wanted this match against the Namibian selection, so that the back-up players can play along with the few first-choice players who will be available and can take the lead and guide the others.

“It will allow them an opportunity to play together, so we can get them to slot in with our way of thinking and the way we don thing.

“It is important to get our back-up players ready.”

De Villiers said he was extremely impressed with the number of young talented players that are coming through the system, a group that would provide some of the players for the Namibian game.

“I have been really impressed with some of the younger players, and a number of players have really put their hands up,” he told rugby365.com, adding: “That is why the Namibian game is so important to me … because of that untapped talent.

“If we can start gelling that talent together in a team, then there is no need for concern for the next four years … the future is indeed bright.”

De Villiers said the talent are coming through in a “big rush” and not just a trickle.

“This [talent coming through] is not a leaking tap, this tap is open full blast.

“The key is to develop that talent so they can fit into our pattern and be an advantage to South Africa.

“I have certainly been very impressed with the younger players in particular.”

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