SOUTH AFRICA coach Peter de Villiers has warned Wales his side are preparing for “war” in their two Tests against the RBS 6 Nations champions.
“Test rugby is war. We’re going back to the trenches. We have to build a side that will die for the country,” De Villiers told Beeld.
“A player has to deserve whatever we pay him. At the training camp we’ll open the door and the players will then get their opportunities,
“Every Test that a player plays will be one he deserves.”
Eighteen players from the Springbok World Cup squad have been named in De Villiers’ team with more likely to be added once the Sharks return from the Super 14 semi-finals in Australia.
De Villiers has also relaxed his stance towards European-based players, including four in his squad and indicating a willingness to add even more.
“One has to understand that they were feeling a lot of uncertainty,” he said in explaining his decision.
“One has to understand that they had to take decisions with their futures in mind. There must be some understanding of this.
“It wasn’t at all difficult to persuade the players in Europe to play for the Springboks.”
Now, De Villiers will have to sift through the players for the Tests against Wales on June 7 and 14.
“The players have shown they are the best.
“They have shown that they are prepared to put their bodies on the line and they are being compensated for that,” he said.
“After four years we want to be in a position to be able to field three or four good teams.
“Injuries come and go and that influences a team’s performance. The immediate unavailability of the Sharks players has opened the door to other players.”
However, he insisted he was happy with the quality and depth of the squad despite the number of absentees.
“Everyone in the squad can play for the Springboks,” he said. “The players will be considered at one stage or another. Everything is being done for a purpose.
“My preparations for the Springbok team are secondary. It’s about what the country wants.”
De Villiers said he will give the Sharks time to celebrate any Super 14 successes they may experience. So some of them may not be available for the first Test on June 7 against Wales.
“We’ll just have to wait and see what will be best for us,” De Villiers said.
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