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Erasmus expresses tour prep concerns

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'Sometimes a two week break is perhaps not the right thing' - Erasmus highlights tour concerns

Rassie Erasmus has expressed concerns that preparations for their November tour have not been ideal.

The Springboks head coach has only had access to a 20-man squad in Stellenbosch this week as they try and fine-tune things before their first Test against England on November 3rd.

“Sometimes a two week break is perhaps not the right thing before a long tour where you will be playing against teams who are in the middle of their season,” he said.

Erasmus says the “objectives of the camp have been met”, but also noted trying to get up to match-speed will be something they also have to contend with, compared to players in the Northern Hemisphere who’ll be coming off the back of two rounds of intense Champions Cup or Challenge Cup rugby.

Erasmus may be casting his eye enviously at his Rugby Championship rivals New Zealand and Australia, who by contrast face each other in a Bledisloe Cup contest in Japan before venturing over to Europe.

“I think the challenge for us this week was to make sure the players reach match intensity, because you cannot just pitch up next week against England and think that after (a break of ) two weeks you’re going to be able to reach that level of match intensity.

“We tried to simulate match intensity while we also worked on many tactical things which we think England will bring to the match, and which are totally different from what we faced against New Zealand.”

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Despite having players tied up preparing for the Currie Cup final, with DHL Western Province facing the Cell C Sharks on Saturday, Erasmus insists this has not been detrimental.

“I think it’s awesome and if it was logistically possible I would actually have preferred for more of the Springboks to be playing in the Currie Cup.”

Earlier this week 14-times capped winger Lionel Mapoe was called up as injury cover for Lukhanyo Am, who is unlikely to recover in time from a fractured arm which he sustained playing in the win over the All Blacks in Wellington.

The Springboks are due to name their full squad for their tour on Saturday. Their match with England is followed by Tests against France, Scotland and Wales.

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'Sometimes a two week break is perhaps not the right thing' - Erasmus highlights tour concerns