Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith keeping his cards close to chest

15 August 2017 - 17:48 By George Byron
Springboks assistant coach Franco Smith. File photo
Springboks assistant coach Franco Smith. File photo
Image: Gallo Images

Springbok assistant coach Franco Smith is keeping his cards close to chest in regards to South Africa’s line-up to face Argentina in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

There has been speculation that 20-year-old Curwin Bosch might start from the bench as an understudy to Elton Jantjies at flyhalf while Handre Pollard is still recovering from an ankle injury.

A cagey Smith‚ however‚ was not giving anything away when he was pressed on who Jantjies’ understudy would be for the opening game in the Rugby Championship.

“I think we will have to wait for the team announcement to make sure that nobody is disappointed or too excited‚” Smith said.

“Everybody has trained well and we have got a lot of plans. We are working hard to better the skills sets of every player and also in the flyhalf role.

"Both Handre Pollard and Curwin Bosch really stepped up this week

“I am really impressed with the way they have adapted to the detail work. In a test match it is slightly different‚ because the margin for error is much less.

“We trimmed it really down and both of them are quite new to the new system. They adapted nicely and we are just giving them the freedom to develop among these guys.

“We set the process and system place.

"What's nice about it is that if somebody comes into the fold‚ then it is the players coaching each other rather than all the info just coming from us.

"So we have put a system where they slot in and it is easy for Elton to explain and for them to just contribute.

“I am quite excited to say that the backline players‚ and specially the flyhalves‚ are all contributing well‚ and are looking fine and in form‚” Smith said.

Meanwhile‚ the Springboks have released Warrick Gelant (fullback)‚ Lizo Gqoboka (prop‚ bothBlue Bulls)‚ Oupa Mohoje (flank)‚ Francois Venter (centre‚ both Free State Cheetahs) and Dillyn Leyds (wing‚ Western Province) to their provincial teams for Currie Cup duty.

The five players are members of the squad who are currently fine-tuning their preparations in Port Elizabeth.

They were released to their respective provinces on Monday afternoon.

The Springbok match day squad will be named on Wednesday‚ while the 28 man squad that leaves for Salta‚ Argentina‚ on August 23 will be announced next Tuesday.

- TimesLIVE