I want them to commit to excellence
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer on Monday said the three-Test tour of Europe will be the final opportunity for players to cement their places in the squad for the long term.
Meyer and his charges touched down in Dublin on Sunday ahead of their tour opener against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium this weekend and the Springbok coach believes the core group of players who will form the nucleus of the squad for the 2015 World Cup in England will emerge over the next three weeks.
“This is my first opportunity and probably my last to see which guys can play away from home. I want to see which guys can play in these conditions and which guys want to go and play in the World Cup,” said Meyer.
“And not just the World Cup but every second game going forward because I don’t want to chop and change going forward. I wanted to use this first year to know the players who want to play for South Africa and what type of player I need.
“If you look at the team, I haven’t changed a lot, it was more because of injuries so I got a good understanding of where we are, but this is the final hurdle for the players to show that they really want to be a part of this team.”
Meyer said the passion of the players or lack thereof will also come to light on the year-end tour after what has been a marathon season.
“I know it’s been a long season and I know the guys are really tired; it’s the toughest season in the history of South African rugby, but I really want guys who want to play for South Africa.
“A guy like Schalk [Brits] is a great example because when I phoned him he said to me, ‘Coach, I don’t care what I do, even if I just hold bags for three weeks I just want to be part of the set-up.’ That’s the type of mentality and character I want in this team.
“There are no excuses. I understand that the players’ welfare comes first but when you put on that green and gold jersey you represent your country, your family, so I want guys who really want to play for South Africa.”
Meyer added that the team will continue to strive for excellence as they look to end a disappointing season in which they have managed to win just four out of nine Tests with consecutive victories over Ireland, Scotland and England.
“I want them to commit to excellence,” he said.
"That’s one thing we committed to from the start of our campaign and we need to increase and improve on that. And also to commit to work ethic.
“Although it’s been a long season there are no excuses, if you prepare for the Boks I want them to be thoroughly prepared.”