South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus has ruled out Montpellier duo Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn for the upcoming first Test against England in Johannesburg.
The duo joined the camp only this week after featuring for Montpellier in the Top 14 final against Castres at Stade de France last weekend and Erasmus wants to hand them proper rest before involving in what will be a gruelling series against Eddie Jones' side.
“I won’t consider them this week just because they haven’t trained with us much, and it wouldn’t be fair on the guys that have been with us here this whole time. I also want to see what they look like when they get here,” Erasmus told Reuters in Johannesburg on Monday.
The absence of du Plessis will mean Erasmus is likely to go with Bongi Mbonambi for the Johannesburg encounter despite him being on the sidelines for the most part of 2018.
“The ideal thing is that when you select a guy for the Springbok team he must have four or five proper games under his belt,” Erasmus explained.
“It is what it is and you have to make a plan.
“A guy like Bongi has Test experience and the nice thing about him is that he is always top fit. It wasn’t a knee or and ankle, it was an appendix, so it wasn’t a rehab thing.
“He did fitness and conditioning right from our first session so I’m fairly confident.
“Between Akker and Chiliboy and the way they played, we’ll have to make a call there. From next week a guy like Bismarck will be in contention.”
The three-game series will be played in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town on 9th, 16th and 23rd June respectively.