Leinster’s backline coach and former Ireland international Girvan Dempsey believes that Rassie Erasmus’s return home will be a boost for the ailing game in SA.
The former Ireland fullback believes SA is still a tough place to tour and that the country has a lot to offer the world game despite recent poor results at Test and PRO14 level.
The Springboks were hammered by the All Blacks last weekend, while the Cheetahs and Kings have struggled in the early stages of PRO14.
"South African rugby is evolving and if you look at the way the game is going globally‚ it’s changing and SA is trying to adapt‚" Dempsey said.
"Taking last week’s result against the All Blacks out of it‚ they were in a positive place before that and there was a lot of positive talk about how the team was performing.
"They were competitive early on against the All Blacks, but turning over some possession cost them.
"That’s where the All Blacks are so dangerous‚ it’s that turnover ball.
"But deeper than that, the Stormers and Lions were extremely competitive in Super Rugby, so from that perspective‚ SA is still a tough place to come and play.
"We were surprised by the intensity the Kings brought last week [Leinster won 31-10] and we’re fortunate enough to get out here first.
"Rassie could help turn things around and from talking to the guys at Munster, he is highly regarded. He has put in place impressive structures and the way they have played over the past season has been excellent.
"He is going to add massive value to SA Rugby."
Leinster face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday night‚ the scene of one of Dempsey’s two Tests in SA in 2004.
Jaco Kriel’s season is over.
The injury the Bok flank sustained against Australia was more serious than initially thought and he will be out for six months. He suffered a severe shoulder injury in the Perth Test on September 9.
He had surgery on Tuesday and is expected to return to play in early 2018.
Kriel was replaced by Jean-Luc du Preez in last week’s ill-fated Test against the All Blacks.
It is moot whether Du Preez will continue in that role in next week’s Test against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein.
With Springbok openside flank options increasingly limited after Kriel’s injury‚ veteran back rower Francois Louw is in line for a recall.
Louw‚ 32‚ has played 52 Tests for the Boks and has only recently returned to the field for Bath in England after a lengthy lay-off due to shoulder surgery in May.
"I am on standby [for SA]‚" Louw told the Bath Chronicle.
"Whether or not they decide to use me‚ obviously there’s been a couple of injuries‚ but I think they’ve got enough good men there to do a good job.
"I’m obviously torn‚ as I’ve always been‚ whether I’m playing there or playing here.
"It’s a huge honour to play for your country.
"Any player who has represented their country can tell you that‚ but this is my club and a team I’m obviously very passionate about."
Springbok coach Allister Coetzee named Louw as a potential replacement when the squad arrived in Johannesburg in Sunday.
Siya Kolisi was the designated openside flank during last week’s defeat to the All Blacks in Albany‚ but he did not enjoy the best outing.
After a season of excellent form‚ Kolisi‚ who has stated in the past that openside is not his preferred position‚ was wasted in that role against the All Blacks.