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Springboks squad 'best I've seen'

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'This Bok squad is the best I've seen' - Springbok veteran full of praise ahead of All Blacks clash

Rassie Erasmus’ current Springboks squad just may well be the best South African side in recent memory.

That’s the verdict from veteran loose forward Francois Louw ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster clash between the All Blacks and Springboks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Louw, who plies his trade for Bath in the Premiership, is part of Erasmus’ 36-man squad currently in New Zealand ahead of their second Rugby Championship match of the year, fresh off their 35-17 dismantling of the Wallabies in Johannesburg over the weekend.

The All Blacks themselves are also coming into this week’s fixture off the back of a win in South America, after dispatching the Pumas 20-16 in a tense affair in Buenos Aires.

The result will leave the hosts as favourites to attain victory in the nation’s capital in five days’ time, but Louw is of the belief that his side shouldn’t be written off given the breadth of depth throughout the team.

“The depth in this Bok squad is the best I’ve seen leading into a year,” Louw told South Africa’s iol.co.za website.

“There are a lot of combinations that can be selected.

“We’re all in it for the same goal, the same objective. Of course we all want to start and be in the World Cup squad, but mostly, we all want the team to win.”

The 66-test star played in South Africa’s clinical win over Australia at Ellis Park, but was particularly impressed with teammate Pieter-Steph du Toit’s efforts at blindside flanker.

“I said to Pieter-Steph after the game that I think I have a new hero in my rugby book,” Louw said.

“He had that blindside break, the chip-and-chase … from which we scored a try; he’s just a phenomenal rugby player, an absolute work-horse. He’s a great guy to have in the team.”

Kicking 2019 off with a comprehensive victory has set the tone for South Africa’s season just two months out from the World Cup in Japan, and Louw believed there were”exciting times ahead” for the Boks.

“I don’t think we could have asked for a better start to the Rugby Championship and the year.”

Head coach Erasmus gave a more frank run down of the Mandela Challenge Plate encounter, which saw South Africa claim the trophy for the first time since 2014.

“We are in no doubt that this is not close to a world-class performance, so more than that the individuals who stood out in the game and put their hand up for test match rugby is the biggest take-home we can take from this,” he said.

Regardless of Erasmus’ sentiments, the Springboks remain one of the frontrunners for the world title later this year, and their upcoming bout with the All Blacks will be a good indicator of where the two teams sit in the build-up to the World Cup.

Watch – Rassie Erasmus fronts the media following win over Wallabies:

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'This Bok squad is the best I've seen' - Springbok veteran full of praise ahead of All Blacks clash