Cape Town – Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus says injuries are part and parcel of the game and he will not be using it as an excuse in upcoming Tests against Wales and England.
The Boks have a number of injury concerns ahead of the 2018 Test season.
Players like Malcolm Marx, Jaco Kriel, Lizo Gqoboka, Lood de Jager and Coenie Oosthuizen will not be available for next month’s Tests, while there is also serious doubt over the availability of Warren Whiteley and Eben Etzebeth.
Erasmus was speaking on SuperSport’s Afrikaans rugby show, SuperRugby, on Monday night where he shared his views on the upcoming season.
The Bok mentor acknowledged that the injuries were concerning, but was adamant he’d be able to pick a competitive squad.
“I think we have no excuses about not having enough players. All four Super Rugby teams and the Cheetahs in the PRO14 have done really well. We do have a few injuries, but I think we can still pick a good squad,” Erasmus said.
Injuries to frontline players will open the door for others and Erasmus noted he was impressed by the Super Rugby form of Bulls prop Trevor Nyakane and lock RG Snyman.
“I think if you start naming all the injured players then it sounds like you’re making excuses. But especially in the tight five… a player like Lizo Gqoboka has made his mark. But he and Lood are now sidelined for a while. The others are Malcolm Marx, Eben Etzebeth and Coenie Oosthuizen,” Erasmus noted.
He continued: “But what that does is it gives guys like Trevor Nyakane and RG Snyman an opportunity to make their mark. So you just have to live with it (injuries).”
Erasmus will name a 40-man squad on Saturday evening, with 26 of those – all SA-based – to fly to the United States for the Test against Wales in Washington DC on June 2.
The other squad members will stay behind to prepare for the England series.
The first Test against England is scheduled for Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 9, followed by Tests in Bloemfontein (Free State Stadium, June 16) and Cape Town (Newlands, June 23).