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The 1 year World Cup countdown has started, so where are the Springboks?

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You will see on our website widgets that we have started with the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. Yesterday marked the one year count down to the event.

From a global point of view there are a few teams that can go all the way next year in the World Cup which is great for the game.

You have the All Blacks off-course, who is still setting bench mark for others, but the positive signs with a year out has been that there are much more teams closing that gab and may challenge the mighty All Blacks next year in Japan.

There was some of the New Zealand media a few weeks back saying they can just hand over the World Cup now to the All Blacks after beaten the Aussies twice in the Championship, but that was a bit premature to say the least.

We have our brothers in the North who has been on the up ever since we saw in the last World Cup only Southern Hemisphere countries playing semi-finals.

Ireland and England have made the most progress since 2015 with specially Ireland looking like a side that can make 2019 a historic year for Irish rugby.

Then we can take the progress shown by Scotland, Wales and France we suddenly have five of Six Nations countries good enough to at least challenge for the cup.

Now I know France, Scotland and Wales may be a far fetch suggestion, but at World Cups when you take all the pressure and knock out rugby anything can happen.

The biggest challenge up north will come from England and Ireland but do not count out the rest.

The Springboks are in a difficult situation, re-building there team with a year out after SARU sacked Coetzee in December to bring in Rassie Erasmus.

Now this is due to their own making.

The Springboks had mixed results this year starting with a lost against Wales in June, two wins and one lost against England at home, a win and a lost against Argentina which follow with a lost against Australia and a win against New Zealand.

So out of eight test the Springboks have only manage to won four of their eight test matches.

Erasmus road to the World Cup is not going to get easier. He firstly have to take 50% black players to the World Cup as agreed to with South African Government and need to find the correct mix and combinations for the squad.

There has been no consistency about his selection so far and there is still question about certain overseas players availability to play for the Springboks.

Now this is not due to the clubs releasing the players but if certain players want to be part of this Springbok side.

Now we now a rumour is dangerous but there have been speculations that there are some players who have no desire to play for the Boks.

One of the problems so far has been that after eight test matches we can maybe pen down the front row, hookers and locks for the World Cup with all the other positions still up for grabs.

There are a few concern on selections with the biggest still the loose trio combination and the midfield.

It will be very dangerous ploy to go to the World Cup without a fetcher and we have not seen  Erasmus move away from his current selections which leaves a guys like Van Staaden still at best carrying the tackle bags.

There are a few players that Erasmus still need to at least look at with Coetzee also coming back for Ulster after a long injury spell that kept him out of the game for two years.

At scrumhalf all the faith has been given to Faf de Klerk at this stage in the Rugby Championship.

Papier have been with the squad the whole series but did not get much game time to show us what he can do at this level.

The same goes for Cronje who seems to be the third choice nine at this stage for Erasmus.

At ten, we had some lovely debates on Jantjies and Pollard with Willemse also standing in line.

There were even some thought to put Jantjies at ten and Pollard at twelve which did not look all that bad when they played in that second half against the All Blacks in Wellington.

Pollard and Jantjies gives you something different at ten so at the end I suppose it will come down to how Erasmus wants to play the game.

The midfield for me has been the biggest problem this year for the Springboks. Erasmus have almost picked a different combination every weekend which did not help and has not given us any answers to be honest.

With Am, Etserhuizen, De Allende and Kriel being used for most of this year we should not forget that you there is a Frans Steyn and Jan Serfontein playing in Europe somehere.

Erasmus still has a lot of work to do to get everyone behind him in his quest to go to the world cup and be a contender.

The one thing he needs to start doing is to settle on his starting team so that he can play his bets 23 for every match at the end of year tour.

He will be tested in the next few months and by time December comes we should have a good idea if we actually will be a contender or not in Japan next year.

For now we need to know we still far off where we should be to even come close in giving ourselves a change at the World Cup next year.

The All Blacks will be ready and waiting for us in our first group match of the World Cup on 21 September next year.

This match will decide who finish first and who finish second in Pool B and that will make your road to a possible final either easier or much more difficult.

The Springboks Schedule for the rest of the year looks something like this.

Springboks v Australia 29 Sept (PE)

Springboks v All Blacks 6 Oct (Loftus)

England v Springboks  3 Nov (Twickenham Stadium)

France v Springboks 10 Nov (Stade de France)

Scotland v Springboks 17 Nov (Murrayfield Stadium)

Wales v Springboks 24 Nove (Principality Stadium)

Doing well in the remaining test this year will go a long way for Rassie and his troops in their quest to be ready for World Cup 2019.

 

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