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.