Boks have nothing to lose

2011-07-16 14:57

Peter de Villiers knows that his bread will only be buttered if the Springboks win.

But the national coach believes the bigger picture means it is worth sending a so-called second-string team to Australia and New Zealand for the away leg of the Tri-Nations.

While it is true that Super Rugby fatigue – or injuries in politically-correct terms – has stretched his selection options to breaking point, De Villiers has nothing to lose by sending a second-string team, with six new caps, to Australasia.

In a World Cup year, results of the Tri-Nations will fade into insignificance in three months time and all the pressure will be on Australia and New Zealand to beat South Africa’s “B” team.

Stalwart skipper John Smit will, of course, be there to lead the side and prove that there is still plenty of life in those bandy 33-year-old legs, while Morné Steyn, exciting fetcher Heinrich Brüssouw, Danie Rossouw and Ruan Pienaar provide excellent experience at the highest level.

But the likes of vice-captain and lock Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Fourie du Preez, Jaque Fourie and Bismarck du Plessis are all sitting out the tour.

“These guys deserve to be selected and they’ve worked hard,” De Villiers said of the players who left yesterday for Australia to prepare for a Test match in Sydney on Saturday.

“Obviously I want to win all the games, even if egotistically only for my own record because that determines whether I keep my job or lose it.

“The excitement for the tour has really taken off this week and our expectations are very high because we are still representing our country. We are really confident and John fired up the boys like only he can.”

Of the 21 players left behind, De Villiers said: “Super glue won’t even help those players.

It was the sensible decision to leave them behind. For one moment of greatness, why bugger up a player’s future?

“(Prop) CJ van der Linde has a really bad groin and Johann Muller’s hamstring is even worse, but we are taking them overseas. So can you imagine how badly injured the players who are staying behind are?

“If we were playing a World Cup final tomorrow, then I could have been like some of the (rugby) unions and played them.”

There will be a tremendous ­focus on hooker Smit, particularly since three of the six uncapped players in the touring squad are props – Dean Greyling, Werner Kruger and Coenie Oosthuizen.

Smit is confident, however, that it will all be fine.

“We’ve had quite a few scrummaging sessions and it is exciting to have big boys next to me who like to scrum,” he said.

The squad has shown some really good energy in training. We’ve prepared well, done everything we needed to do. It has been a while since we’ve got through all the content before we even fly over to Australia.”

– MWP Media 

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