Coetzee’s happy with loose trio, midfield despite pundits’ concerns Coetzee happy with loose trio

2016-09-29 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has much to ponder ahead of this weekend’s Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

PHOTO: gallo images Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has much to ponder ahead of this weekend’s Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

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SPRINGBOK coach Allister Coetzee faces some tough choices in naming his team to face the Wallabies in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, but finds himself content and happy with both the midfield and loose trio.

While many critics of the sides under Coetzee believe the loose trio currently lacks balance, and certainly lacks a big ball carrier to punch up the middle, the Bok coach expressed his satisfaction with the role of the players in the loose trio, who are set to continue once again this weekend at Loftus.

The same goes for the midfield, where Coetzee first tried Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe, before dropping both and selecting Jesse Kriel and Juan de Jongh in a midfield that hasn’t sparked either as the Boks have struggled.

And while the duo will also continue this weekend, the Boks have been criticised as both players are essentially playing out of position, with De Jongh more favoured at the outside centre berth while Kriel has been more effective in Super Rugby at fullback.

Add Francois Hougaard on the wing for the Boks and there are a number of players who have played out of position this year.

Hougaard may well continue on the wing, as moving him back to 9 this week and dropping Faf de Klerk will leave Coetzee with another player out of position as Willie le Roux would have to fill in on the wing then.

Le Roux is expected to be in the starting line-up this week, but his role will be an interesting one to watch.

One thing is for sure, Coetzee believes his midfield combination is the best he has, even though it, like the loose trio, lacks some punch to take the ball up — a factor that has been a key ingredient in several Springbok teams of the recent past. “I’m very happy with our personnel at centre, I don’t have any issues at centre really. I think our centres have performed well …” Coetzee said.

“I think if you talk about attack, and turnover attack, we scored two great tries against Australia from turnover possession and our centres really did their job on attack as well. I’m pleased with the centre combination.”

While many out there have been hankering on for the call-up of Lions midfielder Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Coetzee was defiant, saying De Allende had the same attributes currently and Janse van Rensburg will get his chance. There is a belief it seems in the Bok set-up that Janse van Rensburg’s defence isn’t up to scratch for Test rugby at the moment and he has aspects he needs to work on, but it is hard to doubt the physical impact he makes for his franchise at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level.

“I know a player like Rohan Janse van Rensburg has had a wonderful Super Rugby season. He is probably on the radar and he will get his opportunity when it is the right time. I don’t guess and I don’t get emotional when I watch a game,” Coetzee said of the midfielder.

“I look at stats and I look at what we have and these guys, are they capable and what are their stats? And then I will make a call on that. What Rohan can do we still have in Damian as well. I’m happy with the centres as it is at the moment.”

But just hours after saying De Allende had the same aspects in his game, the Western Province and Stormers midfielder was released to play Currie Cup rugby, further deepening the debate that the Boks aren’t keen on a big ball carrier in the midfield.

In both instances the team need to prove their critics wrong, as another lacklustre performance on both fronts will simply add to the pressure ahead of facing the All Blacks in Durban in a week’s time. — SuperSport.

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