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Rassie Erasmus has confirmed that Montpellier duo Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn will not be considered for selection in Saturday’s series-opening Test against England, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Johannesburg.

Of the five overseas-based players included in Erasmus’ squad for the upcoming three-Test series against England, Steyn and Du Plessis have yet to arrive in South Africa after featuring in the Top 14 final last Saturday.

When fronting up to the media at the Boks’ Montecasino base on Monday – just hours after the travelling squad returned from the one-off Test in Washington – Erasmus confirmed that Steyn and Du Plessis would need some time to settle into the camp before coming into selection contention.

‘When they get here, I obviously want a chance to see them first. We’ve followed and monitored them closely overseas, and seen how motivated they are. They’ve played a game [on Saturday], but now they need to do their exit medicals before they can be released in terms of regulation nine.

‘I’m expecting Bismarck to arrive tomorrow, and I think Frans only on Wednesday. So I won’t consider them this week just because they haven’t trained with us much, and it wouldn’t be fair on the guys that have been with us here [in camp] this whole time. I also want to see what they look like when they get here.’

It means that Damian de Allende is likely to be the preferred option to start at inside centre in this Saturday’s clash at Ellis Park, while Bongi Mbonambi is set to wear the No 2 jersey despite having yet to play this year due to a burst appendix.

‘Of course, the ideal thing is to be able to select guys who have had four or five proper games under the belt [after an injury], but sometimes you don’t have that luxury,’ Erasmus commented when asked about the options at hooker.

‘Bongi is a guy with Test experience and the good thing is that he is not coming back from a period of rehab after a knee or shoulder injury or something, but it was an appendix. So we’ve been working with Bongi quite a bit in camp already on his fitness and conditioning, so we know where he stands.

‘Then obviously between Akker [van der Merwe] and Chiliboy [Ralepelle], we have to make a call there. From next week, though, a guy like Bismarck will be in contention, but I don’t want to just throw a guy from overseas straight into the mix this week.’

Erasmus will name the team to face England on Thursday, although he admitted that it would take until the second Test to know with certainty which are the best combinations available.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Who is Erasmus trying to kid with most of those comments on so many levels? Next he is going to tell us that Mahoje was an ‘inspired’ choice.

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  2. It’s a pity. Saw a team that is just about confirmed to be England’s run on team for Saturday. Really weak in midfield defence for me. A storming Frans could’ve made some serious inroads and given us quality front foot ball. Hopefully we see JLDP running at that midfield a lot, and we are able to exploit it, cos even though it’s weak, the rest of the team has covered for them well.

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  3. @DavidS:

    He has barely even played a game this season and like the Stormer’s loose-forward plays in a team with the weakest 3 hookers in the land.

    That Ralepelle kept Brits out in a time with Smit and BDP was sacrilege in itself. That he still can barely make his team’s 23 on form 10 years later and is still being spoken of at test level says it all.

    @Aldo:

    Esterhuizen was about the only back (and player) that seemed to be able to break the line against that Welsh side. Just what are all these out-of-form Stormers players doing to be selected into the test squads.

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  4. @bryce_in_oz: agreed. I’d start with Esterhuizen against the English. It seems they’ll be going Ford at 10 and Farrel at 12, which would mean a big strong runner like Esterhuizen is the ideal player. Add to that the fact that he has learnt to offload and we can have front foot ball to play with. Granted, Duh duh has shown some semblance of form, but Esterhuizen had been really good all year long. Add to that, that Am seems to be the 13 of choice, it brings the added benefit of a combo that has proven itself.

    Yes it will be an inexperienced combo, but a combo of Duh duh and Am just doesn’t inspire any confidence in me.

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  5. @Jacques: We all know that but it doesn’t change the fact that it is a pity they won’t be available, especially when we look at injuries at hooker.

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  6. I believe Bismarck would not have been in the mix if Marx was not injured…He was called up due to the fact Marx is not there, well that is my thinking

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  7. @Jacques:

    You mean like pretty much every player this weekend?

    The likes of Bongi have barely even played a game this season whilst BDP is the form hooker in France this year.

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  8. The USA test was always about the money, I am sure nor the players nor coach would wanted it if they had a choice, but the game is driven by money…well and in SA by BEE as well.

    Bryce they are right the bank was the only the only winner in the USA test not rugby, not Wales nor the Boks.

    Very disappointed really…

    I for one expected more from the players and the game just from the point of view that we had so many players that could have state their claim, Like Acker….do not know why we went with steroid baby Chililaboy at all, Acker should have started for me.

    It was a lost opportunity for me his whole game

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  9. Guys, who are we trying to bluff here?

    Watch this clip below, and see the intensity, the ball handling, the all-round skill these guys had. That’s why they were legends, and it was 23 odd years ago.

    SA Rugby has regressed beyond repair, MOERTOE, FUBAR, not Rassie, not anybody, no, not even Eddie Jones would have been able to turn this shambles around.

    https://youtu.be/3aQdiLnm2fI

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  10. @Welshbok die Brandwag: Yip, quite depressing to watch (so called) farmers running at pace, off-loading in the tackle, play at high pace. And this from practicing (maybe!) twice a week for 2 hours (which will typically also include a koppestamp opfok!). And 50 years later, we have the players full time, with an army of coaching staff / fitness specialist / physios / life skills and WTF else, and all they can do is fokken kick the ball away!!!!!!!

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  11. Bliksem – that is a mowers big call by erasmus, having bongi at 2 v England. Had to be AvDM or Bismarck at 2. Could be one helluva start to Rassie tenure losing to Wales and neutral venue and England at home. Lost by that 1st test is going to put huge pressure on them all.

    Not sure this is wise but big ballas for sure.

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  12. @Jacques:
    Hulle het pas ‘n hele seisoen afgehandel in Europa… liewe fok watse “training” en “coaching” kort spelers wat al meer as 10 jaar Springboke en professionele spelers is… watse spindoctoring kak is dit??? Kry jy ‘n salaris van SARU af?

    @bryce_in_oz:
    In the meatime when black hookers DO play well they get ignored like that Edgar Marutlulle at the Kings and that other one who played for the Bulls and the Lions … nope wrong team so totally ignored.

    @bryce_in_oz:
    Don’t bother… looks like Jacques is working off a call center screamsheet of excuses…

    @Welshbok die Brandwag:
    EFF asked for that this weekend. I agree with them.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Proof of the pudding

    This weekend my friends are having a braai. They created a whatsapp group for the arrangements two weeks ago. The people do not have DSTV. The party is a 10th birthday party. NOT ONE of the parents has offered to bring a decoder so we can watch rugby. Even though many of them are from school and formerly avid rugby fans. THAT is what Springbok rugby means to its grassroots supporters.

    Honestly.. if they want to BEE… they can go look for supporters in the BEE too.

    I just checked on Computicket… you can still today get tickets for the Newlands test…. compare that to the Ellis Park SR final last year where tickets sold out on Sunday evening a week before the match.

    Ellis Park test still has acres of space and even cheap R150,00 tickets available too!

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