Rugby-No time for experimentation, says Bok coach Nienaber

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PARIS (Reuters) – South Africa coach Jacques Nienaber says there is no time for experimentation ahead of the defence of their Rugby World Cup title in 2023, and will go into autumn internationals against Wales, Scotland and England with his strongest available side.

The Springboks did not play a test between lifting the World Cup in Japan in November 2019 and game against Georgia in April this year.

“We are building consistency now,” Nienaber told reporters on Sunday. “Since the World Cup, two years have gone by and we have only played 10 tests after we lost out on 2020 due to COVID-19.

“So the key thing is to build consistency in our group, in our performances and preparation. So I don’t think there will be a lot of surprises in terms of team selection.

“In saying that, nobody is irreplaceable in our squad. There is so much good competition. The players must know that, and that they must perform.”

South Africa have their home-based players with them at their training base in Paris, and those who ply their trade overseas will join up next Sunday ahead of the tour opener against Wales on Nov. 6.

“The players know that they must play well for their clubs to stake their claim for selection, and those that are already with us in this group must train well,” Nienaber said.

He confirmed that director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is on tour but will not continue in the water carrier role he fulfilled during the series win over the British & Irish Lions.

“Rassie is here in his capacity as director or rugby. In the tests against the Lions, World Rugby made an extra water carrier spot available. That gave him the opportunity.

“But we are back to the usual two now and there is no space for him. He will be in the (coaches) box with us.”

Erasmus also faces a World Rugby disciplinary hearing next weekend after his infamous 62-minute video criticising match officials following the first test loss to the Lions.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)

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