Although scrumhalf Faf de Klerk is available for Springbok selection this week‚ coach Rassie Erasmus indicated that the team might play without him when they meet Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
De Klerk missed last week’s 26-20 win over Scotland at Murrayfield after Erasmus released the halfback to his club Sale Sharks.
It gave the Bok coach the opportunity to start Embrose Papier for the first time this season and the youngster did well in a tough environment.
De Klerk also missed the 12-11 loss against England – the first match on tour – because it fell outside the Test window.
Ivan van Zyl started on that occasion.
Against both England and Scotland the scrumhalves were solid‚ which appears to have given Erasmus the confidence to continue to develop them this weekend.
It’s a big call after the coach described the Welsh match as the toughest of the tour.
Given that there are only five Tests left until the start of Rugby World Cup 2019‚ Papier and Van Zyl could do with more game time.
De Klerk is available‚ as per Regulation nine of World Rugby’s policies‚ but Erasmus is unlikely to invoke it this week.
“Faf is available this weekend‚ but we probably won’t use him‚” Erasmus told the media in Cardiff.
“Regulation nine is quite clear that we can draft the [overseas-based] guys in a Sunday before a Test match. We have a very good relationship with most of the clubs.
“Faf is definitely a contender to go to the Rugby World Cup next year‚ but in the same breath we don’t have the luxury of 15 to 20 Test matches before the World Cup. We have five‚ including this one.
“The way we have been trying to build momentum and get the winning feeling back‚ we had to rely a lot on Faf‚ but we feel the young boys in the squad are ready to take the step up and show what they can do‚ like Embrose did last week and Ivan did against England.”
Source: TMG Digital.