Cheetahs spoke to Boks coach Erasmus about absence of their players
Cheetahs managing director Harold Verster has revealed that they have spoken to Springbok coach Johan “Rassie” Erasmus about the absence of their players in the World Cup squad.
All the other Super Rugby team and a few overseas sides are represented in the World Cup squad.
The Cheetahs‚ who won the Currie Cup against the Golden Lions last week‚ and the Southern Kings do not have players in the World Cup squads. Both teams play in the Pro14 tournament‚ which starts on September 27.
Verster‚ who was speaking at the tournament's launch in Hyde Park‚ Johannesburg‚ said they've been told that their players will kick the door down if they put up exceptional performances.
While the Pro14 tournament has been a difficult one for the Cheetahs‚ SA's Super Rugby franchises also struggled with the Sharks and the Bulls having to travel for their play-off games.
“We had an discussion with Rassie and we asked: 'You're not really interested in our players. Why?'.
"He said: 'If guys win games and perform well‚ they'll definitely get picked. If you look at the pony system where they award ponies to up and coming players. You've won the Currie Cup and there's players we need to look at'‚” Verster said.
“If we win and we perform well‚ our players will go through to the Springboks.”
In an ideal world‚ Erasmus should have a soft spot for the Kings and Cheetahs‚ having been born in Despatch and played for the Central Franchise.
However‚ the ideal world doesn't exist in the professional environment where the best players have to be picked at all times.
Cheetahs high performance manager and former player MJ Smith‚ brother of outgoing Cheetahs director of rugby Franco and a former provincial teammate of Erasmus‚ said they understand what they need to do to get players into Springboks reckoning.
“It's always a point to debate‚ but I do believe if we're successful in the Pro14‚ we will have players selected from the Cheetahs.
"To constantly be in the top seven or six and taking part in the play-offs means the eyes will turn towards us.
"We have an established team now and most of the guys aren't Pro14 novices‚” Smith said.
“The guys know what's coming and it's not an easy competition.
"Hopefully we can make the heads turn in our direction.
"Rassie has indicated that there's level ground between Super Rugby and the Pro14. It's up to us that we get into the semifinals and we'll be favoured from a selection perspective.”