Rassie absence won’t affect South African A team against MunsterNovember 9, 2022
The absence of SA Rugby Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus from the South African A camp ahead of their match against Munster in Cork on Thursday won’t have an adverse effect on the squad.
Erasmus was supposed to assist SA A head coach Mzwandile Stick, but instead opted to stay in France with the Springbok squad ahead of their Test at the weekend.
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“The main priority is the Springboks and with the challenges that we had in the game (against Ireland), I think Rassie felt he needed to be in the Springbok camp in France to make sure that we turn things around,” explained Stick.
“We were really close to winning against Ireland and it was a very tough game, but there are a lot of work-ons that need to be addressed. So I think Rassie felt like he needed to stay behind.
“It would have been nice to have him here in the camp with his experience and we know the impact that he brings. But I think we have got the coaches around us who can do the job.”
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Stick continued: “We have Bafana (Nhleko) who is very experienced, having managed the Junior Springbok team, while Joey Mongalo who has been around Super Rugby teams and is currently at the Sharks, and we have Wian (du Preez) as our forwards coach.
“He has been here before, played at Munster for a number of years and understands the conditions and people. So I believe the guys that we have in the camp are the right people for the job. It is going to be a massive challenge for us and it is a great opportunity for all of us as coaches to lead this team.”
Goal is to win
Despite the difficulties of having a large group of players, with many of them having not played much together and with them having only arrived in Ireland earlier this week, Stick admits that their main goal is to win.
“It is not a secret. One of our strategic goals in the Springbok environment is always to win. We want to win, we are passionate about the game and we want to make our country proud. So the main goal for me in these games is to win and the boys are all aligned with that,” said Stick.
“This is also an opportunity for these players. Some of them have been through tough times, while we have a good mixture of youngsters coming through and experienced guys like Goose (Johan Goosen) and Cornal (Hendricks) who have been out of the national setup for a while.
“I am so excited to see what this team can bring to the table. Guys like Suleiman (Hartzenberg) on the wing and (Henco) van Wyk at centre are brilliant youngsters, while Aphelele Fassi has been craving to get an opportunity. So I am just excited for them to get that opportunity and to see some old faces in the mix.”
Stick admits that the team will head into the Munster clash undercooked, but they will have a simple plan to follow and can just focus on the game.
“We know that we don’t have the privilege of having enough time to prepare, so the key thing for us as coaches is to give the players guidance and make sure they don’t stress too much about the details,” explained Stick.
“We just want them to make sure that they express themselves and give everything that they can on the day. We know we won’t get it 100% right. The most important thing for me is that they pitch up and bring a lot of energy because it is going to be a tough game.”