Boks won't field 'B team' against Wales

Rassie Erasmus (Gallo)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Springboks will not field a 'B team' against Wales in Washington DC on June 2, but coach Rassie Erasmus will have to box clever as he plans for a busy month of fixtures.

Following that trip to the USA, the Boks then return home for a three-Test series against Eddie Jones's England. 

Earlier in the month, former Springbok coach Jake White had suggested that Erasmus pick a side made up of largely players of colour in an effort to bolster his transformation numbers for 2018. 

"Definitely not," was Erasmus's response when asked if he would consider going down that road. 

According to Erasmus, an extended squad of around 40 players will be named ahead of the Wales match. 

The make-up of the touring party for that Test might also be influenced by the fact that, the weekend before, the Sharks are in Argentina for a Super Rugby clash against the Jaguares and they are only likely to return to South Africa on Monday.

"That Wales Test is organised for two reasons: for SA Rugby to make a little bit more money and to have another Test match before the World Cup to play," Erasmus said in an open and honest meeting with journalists at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday.

"We don't have a lot of time to prepare the team and having one Test extra where we can experiment a little bit is great.

"I spoke to their coaches a few weeks back and they said they were probably going to experiment a little bit too."

Reports on Thursday suggested that the Test itself might be canned due to a lack of ticket interest from Washington, but Erasmus cannot pay attention to that. 

Experimentation aside, he knows the importance of getting off to a winning start, and Erasmus will still look to put as strong a side as possible out on the park against Wales. 

"You don't want to say that one Test is less important than the other one. We definitely won't pick an 'A' side and a 'B' side, or a stronger side and a weaker side," he said.

"We'll probably pick two equally strong sides, taking into consideration that the previous Friday the Sharks are still playing the Jaguares away."

Erasmus added that the squad would leave as late as possible in the week for America, mirroring the Lions' tactics of leaving for Australia just two days before their clash against the Waratahs last week. 

When the touring party returns, Erasmus said that the main squad of 40-odd would stay together for the first Test against England in Johannesburg on June 9. 

It would then be trimmed ahead of the second Test in Bloemfontein. 

"It's a little of juggling and mixing and matching, but I'm sure Wales will have to do the same," Erasmus said. 

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