Lambie could play fullback

2013-05-28 00:00

SPRINGBOK coach Heyneke Meyer said he was deeply concerned about the fullback position ahead of the June internationals and flyhalf Pat Lambie could switch roles to solve the problem.

Meyer held an informal press conference after the Springbok squad training session at Northwood High School in Durban yesterday and said one of his major worries was who to play at fullback in the June 8 Test against Italy at King’s Park.

Zane Kirchner remains his first choice, but the Bulls fullback is recovering from a fractured finger.

“I still hope that Zane will be ready, but Gio Aplon, Willie le Roux and Pat Lambie can all play at fullback.”

He said that he was also looking outside his Springbok training squad and Cheetahs fullback Hennie Daniller had impressed him this season.

Lambie, who was Meyer’s first-choice flyhalf on the tour of the UK last November, was running at fullback at yesterday’s practice session, with Morné Steyn at flyhalf.

A host of battered and bruised players did not take part in yesterday’s practice.

His makeshift backline yesterday was Lambie, Bjorn Basson, Lwazi Mvovo, J.J. Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Morné Steyn and Jano Vermaak.

Beast Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss and Jannie du Plessis packed down in the front row, with Juandré Kruger and Eben Etsebeth at lock. Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee and Pierre Spies ran in the back row.

But Meyer confirmed that two overseas-based players, Bath flank Francois Louw and Ulster scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, would be involved in the June internationals.

“Francois Louw is really my first selection as the number seven flank, and he and Ruan Pienaar are the only overseas players that I will call on,” Meyer said.

Springbok captain and centre Jean de Villiers, Kirchner, Coenie Oosthuizen, Willie le Roux, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Elton Jantjies, Demetri Catrakilis, Juan de Jongh and Flip van der Merwe were yesterday sidelined by injury. The injuries in the second row forced Meyer to call up Sharks lock Franco van der Merwe as cover.

Meyer said that the many injuries would prevent him choosing his strongest team for the internationals and he would again have to call on new players for the series against Italy, Scotland and Samoa.

He said that last year he had selected 20 new Springboks.

“I don’t want to do that every year.”

He said it was a concern that there was only a limited time for preparation and yet he was unable to train with the team he would be fielding against Italy.

“The players haven’t been together for five months and I will only have days to get them ready for the Test. It is certainly not an ideal situation.”

He said the impression had been created that the Boks would simply roll over Italy.

“That is not the case. Italy finished third in the Six Nations series and they will be a real threat. Their tactical kicking is very good and that is worrying because we will have a new back three [two wings and the fullback] in the Test.”

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