Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer stands by his decision to select several veteran players for their June Tests, backing experience to shine.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has stood by his decision to select several veteran players for their June Test Series, backing experience to shine.
Meyer, who was speaking to the press on Sunday, picked Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Fourie du Preez, Bakkies Botha and Schalk Brits in his 36.
And despite murmurs that he may have gone with too many players in their 30s, the coach insists that older heads are key to success in rugby.
“I watched Toulon win the (Top 14) final last night (Saturday) and saw the role experience played in their win,” Meyer explained in Cape Town.
“Most of the successful teams around the world have many experienced players. Some of them have been written off but some of them move on and become super stars.
“You can't go about team building every year.
“The youth brings enthusiasm to the squad but we need a balance. Some of the (Springbok) players who have moved on have become super stars in another country after they were written off (in South Africa).”
Meyer went on to say that he was not surprised that Bulls second-row forward Matfield was back to his best form after coming out of retirement ahead of the Super Rugby season.
“Victor has been in superb form and I'm not surprised,” he said.
“He's always wanted to be the fittest in the Bulls group. He has showed that he's not only back for the money but he also wants to be the best.”
Meyer's 36-man squad is larger than usual but with June Tests that see them face more games, he wanted a group fit for purpose as he continues preparing for the World Cup.
“I have asked for two extra matches and players because it helps players to hit form,” he explained.
“We have one eye on the World Cup and it will be a great thing if players can get their chance to perform.
“There is also the question of injuries just before a World Cup. It is an unbelievable opportunity for youngsters to get know how to adapt (at international level) and it also gives them an idea of how good they must be.”