Meticulous Rassie, Boks halfway through a 20-week plan

Rassie Erasmus (Getty Images)
Rassie Erasmus (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Springboks leave for Japan on Friday, meaning they will be the first of the visiting sides to arrive in the country for the 2019 Rugby World Cup

If the Boks do not win the tournament, it won't be because they are not prepared. 

Coach Rassie Erasmus has been so meticulous in his planning that there was not one surprise when he named his 31-man squad for the showpiece on Monday. 

Over the last couple of months, he has made his position very clear in terms of personnel and he has given his players opportunities to get game time under their belts and to rest. 

The Boks play a one-off Test against hosts Japan in Kumagaya on September 6, and they will then have another two weeks to prepare for their tournament opener against the mighty All Blacks in Yokohama on September 21. 

It means the Boks would have spent around three weeks in Japan by the time they open their account, but it is all part of a very deliberate Erasmus plan to deal with the Japanese climate and conditions., where extreme heat is expected to be a factor.

"We're now in week 10 and we decided from the beginning that it was going to be a 20-week journey together," Erasmus said in Johannesburg on Monday after naming his squad.

"We've been together for 10 weeks and we've rotated squads and players to make sure that everybody gets enough rest and time on and off and that we have a big pool of players who know the game plans.

"We'll be there getting used to the heat, training in the heat, playing an actual match in the heat, playing against Japan who will have crowd support.

"Hopefully the spin-off will be that we will probably be the team that gets used to the conditions, apart from Japan who plays there all the time.

"Yes, it makes the tour longer for us, but hopefully the spin-off of getting used to those conditions is what we're trying to achieve from that."

Springboks' 31-man Rugby World Cup squad:

Forwards (17)

Schalk Brits (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens, England), Siya Kolisi (captain, Stormers), Francois Louw (Bath, England), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Franco Mostert (Gloucester, England), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Lions), RG Snyman (Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls)

Backs (14)

Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks, England), Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse, France), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), S'bu Nkosi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints, England), Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France)

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