Bok coach wary of Aussies
SPRINGBOK rugby coach Heyneke Meyer doesn't believe that success in the Super 15 will definitely translate into winning the inaugural Four Nations tournament featuring New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, which starts in 10 days.
South Africa provided three of the six teams in the Super 15 play-offs while New Zealand had two - including the eventual title-winning Chiefs - and Australia only one, the Reds.
By that measure, SA and New Zealand should be stronger than Australia, while Argentina remain an unknown force. The Boks meet the Pumas in the first match of the tournament on August 18 at Newlands and follow that a week later with a trip to Mendoza to face them again. "In this tournament, you can only select 22 players in a squad for any match, so I don't believe what happened in Super rugby will necessarily translate into the international arena," Meyer said.
"Australian rugby currently doesn't have a lot of depth (based on Super rugby performances) but they will still be able to pick a powerful Wallaby team. Super rugby performances aren't always an accurate measure," he said.
"Argentina will be tough because their players have mostly been based in Europe and they have had some time together.
"New Zealand will start as favourites because they are the world champions and they have a lot of depth in most positions, especially among their backs.
"But we would make a mistake to look beyond Argentina because they have prepared well for the tournament; they have their best players available and they are fit and want to prove a point.
"It's going to be tough no matter who we play against."
Meyer picked a 30-man Bok squad on Saturday for the matches against Argentina but he will review the personnel after the Mendoza match and reconsider. Overseas-based Boks can expect a call-up if things don't start well.
"Our depth is improving, but a lot of our best players are overseas and we will have to look at that," Meyer said. "But I'm very happy with youngsters coming through and a guy like (Stormers flank) Siya Kolisi proves that if you work hard and perform well you will get an opportunity with the Springboks.
"I'm in contact with a lot of the overseas-based senior players on a weekly basis, but the problem is that they have been in their off-season for the last six weeks and haven't played any rugby.
"I've always maintained that if it's a 50-50 decision between two players - one locally based and one overseas - I will always go for the local guy," said Meyer.
"By the second half of the tournament a lot of those guys attached to European clubs will have been back in pre-season training and played some games and we can look at them again."