Heyneke Meyer in World Cup mode

2014-11-02 15:00

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Heyneke Meyer views the Springbok end-of-year tour, which starts with a test against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, as a dress rehearsal for next year’s rugby World Cup.

Explaining the need to take a squad of 36 players for just four matches – the other games are against England, Italy and Wales – Meyer said the tour was the last chance to evaluate fringe contenders for the 2015 World Cup squad because he was hoping to go into next year’s southern hemisphere Rugby Championship with his World Cup squad settled.

Meyer conceded that South African players struggled in cold and wet conditions, adding that he was looking forward to seeing how some of the newer additions to the squad coped.

He hinted that Johan Goosen, currently with Racing Métro in France, would be given a chance at fullback and confirmed that some players in his large squad might not get game time, but that he needed to “work with them and introduce them to the Springbok culture”.

Speaking ahead of the team’s departure (they flew to Dublin via London yesterday), Meyer said he intended to maintain the core of the team that recently beat the Wallabies and the All Blacks for the test against Ireland as he felt the Irish, who last year lost 24-22 to New Zealand after Aaron Cruden was able to retake a last-gasp conversion, would provide stiff opposition.

There will be heightened interest in the matches at Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium in view of next year’s World Cup as South Africa’s archrivals, the All Blacks and the Wallabies, also have tests against England and Wales.

The Springboks are determined to keep up an 11-match unbeaten streak against England dating back to 2006, but perhaps the most difficult game will be the last against the Welsh because it falls outside the International Rugby Board’s official test window,

so Meyer will be unable to use any of his foreign-based players.

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