Super Rugby form not the only measure - Erasmus

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    09 Aug 2018     Getty Images

That's the message Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus will be reinforcing as the full South Africa squad assembles at Stellenbosch this week to prepare for their opening Test against Argentina next weekend.
While the Super Rugby competition had not been a huge success for South African sides, the Lions still proved to be better than 13 other sides in reaching the final.

Erasmus didn't believe that Super Rugby experience should impact the Championship performance.

"I think the impact on you psychologically is an individual think, but I know that when Nick Mallett was coaching us back in 1998 we were very successful as a Springbok team and yet the teams were struggling in Super Rugby," he told South African media.

"I was playing for the Cats and we were languishing around 12th in a 12-team competition. Only one local team challenged for a place in the playoffs in those days and finished about fourth overall. Yet when we played for the Boks we went unbeaten for most of the year," he said.

South Africa won the Tri Nations for the first time.

"Some people see losing a lot in Super Rugby as baggage and there is a feeling you have to get the monkey off your back, but it differs from player to player. For me, the way we turned around the first England Test, recovering from a 24-3 deficit early on, to win the series makes me not nervous but confident," he said.

The All Blacks would be favourites again and they had depth across the squad.

"What impresses me about the All Blacks group is the spread of their players. They don't have a whole lot of players from one franchise taking up the key positions. They have three scrumhalves from different franchises, maybe the locks and props are from the same region, but otherwise it is a case of a Hurricanes player next to a Chiefs or Highlanders player.

"It makes the rest of us in the coaching world look at it and wonder and ask how they do it?

"They have incredible versatility and it is nonsense to say all the Kiwi provinces play the same. They don't. They play very different styles. And yet when the players come together as the All Blacks it just works for them and the team gels.

"That versatility and experience makes it very challenging for the rest of us. But then we knew that already. Everybody knows that," he said.

There would be three factors involved in the Springboks' campaign.

"Firstly we need to be winning, secondly we need to be transforming, and thirdly we need to be building depth," he said.

Winning would be the main aim but even if the Springboks suffered a poor Championship they needed to be building towards success. Evidence from the June Tests against England suggested he was well on track, reported.