Boks to change it up at Murrayfield
Mon, 04 Nov 2013 12:47
I have already decided that it doesn't matter what happens in the first game
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will use the match against Scotland at Murrayfield next week to take a look at a few different combinations.
The Boks kick off their year-end tour against Six Nations champions Wales at the Millenium Stadium this weekend, and Meyer is not likely to tinker too much with the side that featured in the Rugby Championship as they look to get the tour off to a winning start.
However, the Bok coach does intend to use this tour to identify which players are cut out for northern hemisphere conditions with the 2015 World Cup in mind.
He explained that it is a difficult balancing act between keeping winning momentum and planning ahead, and revealed that he has marked the match against Scotland for some experimentation.
"I have already decided that it doesn't matter what happens in the first game, I am definitely going to give a few guys chances against Scotland and by the end of the tour I will know exactly where we stand and should have about 25 of the 30 that go to the World Cup.
"You either go out with all of the experienced players and win your games and you are happy, but then it comes to the World Cup then you are not prepared.
"The only way you can see how a player performs is in a Test match, not in training. So we are probably going to go the other way where we give guys chances, it doesn't mean that we are underestimating the opposition or don't respect them, I wouldn't give guys chances if I didn't think they were good enough.," he said.
Meyer believes that this tour is the perfect opportunity to learn more about his options ahead of the World Cup as next year he will place a focus on continuity as they build towards the global showpiece.
"Next year we will probably pick our best team and give them as many games as possible, but I believe that two years from the World Cup I rather want to see which guys can't make it, I rather want to see the mistakes now and learn from them now because obviously the World Cup is the highlight.
"In saying that you have to win games but you want to give these guys an opportunity. I think if you look at last year's end of year tour we learned a lot about players, a lot of players aren't here anymore and a lot of guys became stronger," he said.
He added that he will favour continuity against Wales, and introduce a few players, which means that the likes of Jaque Fourie and JP Pietersen are likely to get an opportunity at the Millenium Stadium.
"We will probably go with more or less the same team, but introduce a few players. You always want to have some continuity but it is also important to have the World Cup in the back of your mind as well," he said.
One position in which the Boks will not have the luxury of experience is at tighthead with Jannie du Plessis ruled out through injury, and Meyer is determined to see Coenie Oosthuizen continue his conversion from loosehead.
"We have always been blessed with tightheads and suddenly a lot of those guys are playing overseas and some youngsters are putting up their hands but they haven't been tested.
"Short-term Jannie is a very big loss but we also have to look at long-term, my hand has been forced now and I am definitely going to give those youngsters a start.
"Coenie has got a lot to learn but he has done well when he has come on. He has played well outside the scrum but also scrummed well as well.
"It is a long-term project with him, the other guys are more experienced tightheads so we will find a balance amongst the team," he said.
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