Sun, 25 Oct 2020

The gilded gates to the Springbok fortress have been opened this week to Young Guns, aspirant Springboks and former Springboks looking to learn insight into the 2019 World Cup-winning institution Rassie Erasmus built.

The Springbok Showdown is a gilt-edged chance, not afforded to many, to see the inner workings of the machinery that manufactured the historic third World Cup-winning campaign in Japan last year.

Young Guns such as Western Province flyhalf Kade Wolhuter and former Selborne scrumhalf Thomas Bursey, as well as the hive of talented Sharks products like JJ van der Mescht, Fez Mbatha, Celimpilo Gumede and Evan Roos will get to see exactly what it takes -off the field - to be one of the world champions.

More than that, players who have tasted the green and gold, but in entirely different circumstances, like Courtnall Skosan, whose 12 caps all came in the ill-fated Allister Coetzee era in 2017, get a chance to see what a winning Bok setup looks like.

"We agreed that, between us as coaches, we are going to share a lot of the Springbok environment with the players: how we do things, how we analyse things, how we plan a week, how we analyse the opposition," said Erasmus.

"For example, Jacques (Nienaber) showed the guys yesterday (Sunday) a few things on Argentina. He had his team meetings like he normally has, setting the goal of the day and at the end of the day recapping on it.

"There's lots of things we do in the Springbok environment that we want the players to get used to. People call it culture. It's our way of working; the way we do things and the systems that we use. But that's off the field.

"And then, how you do your own analysis, how you plan your own week in terms of time management and stuff like that."

There are 13 World Cup winners set to partake in the Green and Gold squads that will come up against each other in the trial-style Springbok Showdown taking place at Newlands this Saturday.

Around 11 of the overall 50 (split into 25 player per team) have earned Springbok caps in the past, the likes of Ox Nche, Oupa Mohoje, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Marvin Orie and Jason Jenkins.

With them come 16 Young Guns, elite young talents plucked from the Junior Springbok setup, who will get a chance to shadow the older guns and get "overloaded" with the Springbok culture and way of working.

"We are going to try and overload them with the Springbok way of working but we are not gonna overload them with the Springbok way of playing," said Erasmus.

"We are going to show them a lot of stuff and let them learn what's a cross kick, side-step, handoff and what we call those things - our lingo - but we don't expect them to use that on Saturday.

"Our message to them was that they must try and understand what our way of working is and by Friday night, you don't try and remember what you can't remember by then.

"That Saturday morning when you wake up, that which you can remember and your individual skill ... we want to see that on Saturday.

"Jacques explains to them how team selection works and how you get into the Springbok team and what are we rating you on, those kinds of things.

"Apart from, maybe (Mzwandile) Stick having a certain attacking plan or Deon (Davids) having a certain play, it won't be a Springbok blueprint imprinted into the guys' heads."

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