Boks face moment of truth
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is expecting the true character of his side to be revealed when they face a 'desperate' Ireland side on Saturday.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is expecting the true character of his side to be revealed when they face a 'desperate' Ireland side in a chilly Dublin on Saturday.
Meyer made three injury-enforced changes to the side that went down to the All Blacks at Soccer City for the Aviva Stadium showdown this weekend, and is viewing the clash as an opportunity to see which players are able to raise their performance levels under pressure in unfamiliar conditions.
A temperature of around five degrees is forecast for Dublin on Saturday afternoon, while winds and a 25 percent chance of showers are also predicted.
Meyer said that the tough conditions and an Ireland side determined to bounce back from some disappointing results this year will quickly reveal which players in his squad have the ability to shine at the highest level.
"I’ve said from the outset that I’d like to see which of the players can handle the Northern Hemisphere conditions on this tour, as it will be the same for the Rugby World Cup in 2015," said Meyer.
"We'll be facing an Ireland team that is never an easy opponent in Dublin. The Springboks have only won one of their last four Tests here and since they [Ireland] lost at Aviva Stadium against South Africa in November 2010, they have recorded a number of good victories at their home ground.
"They will also be desperate to get back to winning ways after winning two of their eight Tests this season, which, to my mind, is not a true reflection of how good the Irish really are. But we're in a similar situation and would like to start this tour on a positive note," he added.
Meyer confirmed that Leinster prop Heinke van der Merwe has been called up to the Springbok squad for the duration of the tour.
The former Lions prop played in his only Test for South Africa against Wales in November 2007, and he toured with the Springboks at the end of the 2009 season.
Toulouse's Gurthrö Steenkamp, who joined the squad on Tuesday evening, is struggling with a light niggle. Van der Merwe's call-up provides extra cover at loosehead prop.
"Heinke has played for South Africa before and is based in Dublin, making it easy for him to join the squad. I've been following his career and he has been playing well for Leinster, who are the Heineken Cup champions," said Meyer.