June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
What can we expect from the Boks this year when we get down to the business end of the test season . The truth is that we still don’t know. I was totally convinced that our best scrumhalves would be the Cheetah duo of Sarel Pretorius and Piet van Zyl. Then Heyneke did not pick one of them. Van Zyl then got picked after an injury to Vermaak. After Van Zyl replaced Pienaar on the weekend he looked the part in the short time that he was on. Morne Steyn did well in the first test , but less so when the Scotts turned up the pressure. That said , Steyn is still our best option after the serious injury to Goosen.
Looking at the centres and the wings i think it is only a question of picking the right players in the right positions. At this stage i will not pick JJ Engelbrecht at centre. He must play another season of superrugby at outside centre and get real comfortable there.For the immediate future i would want Serfontein and De Villiers to man the midfield. I will then pick Engelbrecht and Habana as my two wings. Willie le Roux will be my fullback . Francois Hougaardt and Patrick Lambie will be my backline reserves
The forwards poses a much bigger problem. In Bismarck ,Adriaan Strauss and Chiliboy we have more than adequate hookers. The tighthead prop is a big problem in modern day SA rugby. Herbst from the Sharks and Malherbe from the Stormers looked very impressive during the season but not one of them is in Heyneke s group. After the fiasco in the scrums especially against the Italians Heyneke will have to pick Coenie Oosthuizen and Nyakane as his props and rest Jannie and the Beast on the bench. Jannie and the Beast is definitely not playing their best rugby at the moment.
I honestly thought that Heyneke has chosen the two best locks available. Etzebeth is turning into a true test lock and is playing better and better. His discipline is also admirable because Hamilton and his offside number 6 flank were begging the boks for a good hiding. The poor ref was totally out of his depth and should be sent to a SA referee academy for classes and a good optician for glasses. Jeandre Kruger has disappointed but i am not so sure that we have a better lock available . Pieter Steph du Toit is injured and also still a bit green and needs another year to toughen him up for Bok duty. De Kock Steenkamp, not in the group and Flip Van der Merwe is possible solutions.
The loose forwards poses more problems. Arno Botha would have been my first choice as eightman and Jaques Engelbrecht the 2nd choice and because Duane Vermeulen is currently injured. Spies i would only consider for the Bulls or as a wing for the Boks. Now there is also Lappies Labuschagne(not sure if he is injured), Brussouw, Kolisi and Francois Louw fresh from his honeymoon. With Botha obviously out with injury we are stuck with Spies on number 8 and Jaques Engelbrecht not in the group.
The best solution will probably be 6 Louw 7 Kolisi 8 Spies with Willem Alberts as cover on the bench. A thought for Heyneke . This was an ideal opportunity to blood as many young guns as possible , but at the same time we know how demanding the SA public is. If everything goes well you are a hero. If anything goes wrong, it is usually blamed on the coach.
Well lets wait for Samoa for a true test of our abilities and see if we are ready for the Pumas, Wallabies and the All Blacks. Our scrumming performance in the last two matches suggests that we are very far from ready. I would play at least three fetchers, namely Francois Louw, Bismarck and Coenie Oosthuizen and call up Brussouw for the 4 nations. As much as i am in awe of the blistering pace of JJ Engelbrecht as an outside centre i would just sleep so much better with Jan Serfontein and Jean de Villiers there. Both of them natural centres. It is much easier for a centre with pace to slot in on the wing than it is for a wing to slot in as a centre.