Boks suddenly thin at No5 lock!

March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

Like the quarterback in American football the flyhalf in rugby union is the star and gets most of the attention. Thus our fixation on who the Bok Flyhalves would be this season.

But our reserves at lock esp no5 lock seems to be thin very thin. In 2012 SA stalwart Victor Matfield retired and it was left up to Juandre Kruger and Andries Bekker to carry the bok team.
Kruger had his moments and Bekker really struggled in 2012.

BUT now in 2013 both Kruger (france) and Bekker (japan) will leave South Africa to further their careers abroad. Bekker already announced that whilst he is playing in Japan (like Mossie) he will be unavailable for Bok selection. And it remains to be seen whether or when Kruger will be available for Bok duty once he goes to France. As clubs are only forced to release boks during the international season Jun/Jul and Nov.
And whilst English clubs like Saracsens and Bath have been willing to release their Boks during the RC for compensation the French clubs has not been so willing to let their boks go. (as was the case with Bakkies Botha last season)

So HM will have his work cut out as we have a few decent no4 locks in Etzebeth,  Big Flip and even guys like Bresler and Sykes. But the no5 line-out orchestrating locks are few.

There is basically Sharks loan player Franco van der Merwe and thats it for locks that have traveled with the Boks. HM can of coarse try to convert either Eben or Flip into a no5 but both are really more suited to the no 4 berth.

There are a few youngsters coming through in Peter Steph-du toit and Paul Willemse who played for the victorious Baby Boks last season. You have the Steenkamp Brothers and Francios Uys from the Cheetahs but none of them says Springbok quality.

With all these departures of Boks during this season it will be interesting to see how HM will manage it. Will he keep selecting players even though he knows they will not be available for next season or the EOYT? Or will he start building on a new team? Thing is his new team can very well be lost to him come 2014’s end. Until SARU can have a serious look at their foreign player policy I can only see problems for HM.

15 responses to Boks suddenly thin at No5 lock!

  1. Not many older locks and some youngsters will have to step up. PSDT is more a utility forward and better at #4.

    Ruan Botha (Stormers)
    Paul Willemse (Bulls)
    Franco Mostert (Lions)

    • Agree I see young Paul Willemse made the Bulls run on team for Saturday will be interesting to see how he goes. He has stated publicly that he want Victor Matfield to coach him so he can play for the Boks in 2013

  2. Do you think HM will try to make Eben a no.5 lock? We have great depth at no.4 or wold he stick with Franco until he can blood a new no.5 lock? We have great upcoming no.5’s but they’re not near bok quality

    • He might but the fact that Eben is probably the worlds best no4 lock will make it difficult to move him.
      We do have Franco and as I have said will be interesting to see how Paul Willemse goes this weekend.

  3. At the Stormers it opens up the possibility of Quin Roux returning to play 4 and Etzebeth returning to the more athletic 5 spot.

    • I am not so sure Quin Roux will be coming back I know he said he would at the time but lets wait and see I have a suspicion he might stay.
      Eben is the worlds best 4 lock do you think it would be wise to shift him???

  4. This is a tough one, as in all honesty there is not a one no5. which looks even remotely becoming a world class player when Kruger and Becker is gone. I’m sure somebody will step up at some point, Paul Willemse might have the edge as he is growing his skills in the very capable stewardship of Victor..

    The one thing I hope they don’t even consider, is trying to convert Etzebeht into no5 role. I have no doubt he would be ok as no5; the thing is that he is a great as no4 enforcer and we don’t want to lose that..

    • Agree Willemse is making his debut for the Bulls this weekend and we will have better knowledge of his maturity after the weekend.
      Also agree on Etzebeth.

  5. I think PSDT will be looked at. HM last year hinted at the player, but because of injury he was not considered. Yes he was used more as a Utility forward but he indicated that he wants to settle as a lock. 4 or 5 would work for him since he has the attributes to be really physical at 4 or quite athletic at 5. I personally would like to see him at 7 or 8 because he has the right attributes, good hands, speed, power, strong on defense and a good eye for a gap.

    • Jip also think PSDT will prob make a better 7 flank than 5 lock.
      Paul Willimse making his debut for the Bulls this weekend might be one to watch as he is a real giant.

  6. Looks like Franco vd Merwe is not allowed to get injured

  7. Etzebeth, Elstadt, Flip VDM, Bresler, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Franco VDM etc…

  8. This wouldn’t be a problem if SARU decided to ditch the Super Rugby Comp and get SA franchises involved in a European comp. Less travel and fatigue- less player burn out; players earn a lot more (therefor no reason to sign contracts with teams abroad). Besides SA players playing abroad will also be back locally, when their teams travel to SA. Win win.

    The travel and the length of Super rugby is killing our players. More and more players will go abroad to earn more due to the fear that the long seasons of Super Rugby will eventually shorten their careers…

    Going to Europe must be a big talking point by now. The current SR broadcasting deal is set until 2015…that should be more than enough time to negotiate deals with Europe and exit SR. Geographically its actually insane that we expect our players to travel so far, while Europe is just a overnight flight away.

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