Venter: Pick Josh at No. 7 for Boks

2012-05-19 00:00

CAPE Town — Former Springbok flank André Venter says he would pick Lions captain Josh Strauss at No. 7 for the Springboks to cover for the injured Juan Smith.

Smith last month announced he was taking an indefinite break from rugby due to an ongoing Achilles injury. He injured his Achilles playing for the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby game against the Bulls on February 25 last year. Since then he’s missed the Springboks’ World Cup campaign last year and hasn’t featured in this year’s Super Rugby competition.

Stormers loose forward Duane Vermeulen would have been his pick to replace Smith, but with Vermeulen also injured Strauss is next in line. Venter said Strauss, despite playing mostly as a No. 8 for the Lions this season, is the perfect option at flank for the upcoming England series in June.

“Josh is your typical flank. He is very active and works hard. He doesn’t take nonsense on the field and with his experience he should be first choice,” said Venter.

He also rates 21-year-old Sharks flank Marcell Coetzee highly. “He’s a very good player and an investment for the future.

“But this is a Test series against the English, so experience should be preferred.”

Venter said Coetzee can be used as an impact player from the bench. He also feels Sharks flank Jean Deysel could be an option. “Everyone wants a tall flank because it provides more options in the lineouts.”

The Boks start their three-Test series against England in Durban on June 9, followed by Tests in Johannesburg (June 16) and Port Elizabeth (June 23).

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