Rassie Erasmus. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DUIF DU TOIT
Rassie Erasmus. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DUIF DU TOIT
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Veteran hooker Bismarck du Plessis and fullback Frans Steyn of Montpellier in the French Top14 will not be considered for selection for the first Test between the Springboks and England at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Bok coach Rassie Erasmus said on Monday that the two‚ who played for their club in the 29-13 defeat to Castres on Saturday‚ would not arrive in SA in time to be considered for the series opener.

No one was guaranteed a place in the team‚ Erasmus said on Monday.

"We followed and monitored them at the weekend and we are not sure about their fitness and conditioning. They played a game at the weekend and they must do their exit medicals according to the regulations.

"I am expecting Bismarck on Tuesday and Frans on Wednesday and I will not consider them for this week because they would not have trained with us for at least two weeks.

"It is also not going to be fair to the guys who have been in camp and training all this time."

Asked if he has an idea of his starting 15 for the weekend‚ Erasmus said he would consider the fifteen players who stayed behind when he took a weakened side to face Wales in the US at the weekend.

"The fifteen guys who stayed behind in SA last weekend will be in the mix and there will be another eight from those who went to the US in the reckoning.

"We just have to make the final analysis to make sure that we have the right combinations‚" he said‚ adding that he was frustrated by the loss to Wales.

"I said it was going to take us time to do all the things right. But it is not an excuse because we knew from the beginning what we needed to do. We struggled to get cohesion against Wales in the first half.

"The reason we travelled late last week was to have more training time with all the players in SA and the positive of that… maybe we will see against England. I saw the positives in the second half when we brought in the substitutes and they were fresh. But still it was frustrating because it was wet and humid."

Reinvigorating England’s flagging offensive play and helping the team to a first series win in SA would amount to a Cinderella story for their new attack coach Scott Wisemantel. The 48-year-old Australian was appointed on a short-term deal for the three-Test tour starting on Saturday, reuniting him with head coach Eddie Jones after the pair had worked together at the Wallabies and Japan.

"Probably Eddie’s biggest selling point was that England has never won a series in SA. For me that was a bit of a challenge," Wisemantel told British media.

TimesLIVE, additional reporting Reuters

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