Boks laying building blocks
Boks laying building blocksSHARE
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is planning on laying the foundations for success in the 2015 World Cup on the upcoming tour of Europe.
Meyer's inexperienced side has been hit hard by injuries, and will still be looking for their first away win of the year when they take on Ireland, Scotland and England next month but the Bok boss is focused on the long-term significance of the tour.
"It has been a very long season but this is an important tour for us. The next World Cup is in England and we have got a young team so it is important for us to play under those conditions.
"We can gain a lot of experience and if you want to win trophies and the World Cup you need to be able to win away from home. That is one thing these youngsters need to learn and this will be an important experience for them to see if they can make the step up," he said.
Meyer has stuck with the same core of players that have served him all year, with the only new faces injury replacements, and he believes that keeping the faith will pay off in the future.
"It is very important to have some sort of continuity, after the World Cup a lot of players left South Africa so a lot of these youngsters now will get the opportunity to play a lot of games, especially away from home.
"It is great to have some sort of continuity and we would like all of these youngsters to have 30-plus games when the next World Cup arrives," he said.
The Bok coach has used the opportunity to call on European-based front row forwards Schalk Brits and Gurthro Steenkamp who he believes will add some valuable experience and energy.
"It gives me the opportunity to look at overseas-based players as well, a lot of guys are fresh, it is the beginning of their season and they know the conditions so I would be stupid not to use them.
Up front we have lost a lot of players due to injuries and we have lost a lot of experience so it is a great opportunity for me to look at these guys," he said.
Having had a look at all of the options available to him Meyer is intent on using this tour as a starting point from which to build towards the next World Cup.
"I wanted to use this year to look at all of the available players and then start to build a team going forward from here and keep the nucleus of this team together," he said.