Rohan selection a no-brainer for Coetzee

Herman Mostert
Herman Mostert

Selecting Rohan Janse van Rensburg at inside centre for Saturday’s Test against England should be a no-brainer for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

I’ve come to this conclusion after watching replays of Saturday’s Springbok game against the Barbarians at Wembley.

There’s no doubt that the Springbok performance was more stuttering than cohesive, but the standout - from a South African point of view - was no doubt the impression made by the burly Lions midfielder.


Yes, we actually saw those in abundance from Janse van Rensburg, who broke through several BaaBaas defenders, not only once or twice, but several times.

Even more impressive was, apart from using his obvious strength, the player’s footwork prior to making contact.

It meant he was not just bashing it up as has become so customary from South African midfielders in recent years.

Janse van Rensburg also capped his performance with a late try to salvage a draw and while the official award went to giant Wallaby wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, the Lions star was definitely South Africa’s man-of-the-match.

He partnered well in midfield with the Cheetahs’ Francois Venter, and while there were a few errors on defence, it’s hardly been worse than already witnessed in 2016.

The centres they countered - Kiwis Richard Buckman and Seta Tamanivalu - are also no slouches, despite some claiming this was a “so-so” BaaBaas outfit.

While Jesse Kriel's tour-ending injury was unfortunate, Bok fans received welcome news on Sunday when it meant Janse van Rensburg was allowed to stay with the squad for the remainder of the tour.

However, one still gets the feeling that Coetzee is going to pick Damian de Allende in the No 12 jersey this weekend.

De Allende had one of his better outings of the year when he partnered Juan de Jongh in midfield in the Test against the All Blacks in Durban, but it was a game that the Boks lost by a record margin and the Stormers centre could hardly have emerged from the Test with his confidence booming.

De Allende has not been the same player in 2016 and the time is right to now pick players on form.

That should see Janse van Rensburg start in midfield.

He was the country’s form midfielder in Super Rugby and unlucky not to have featured in Tests earlier this year.

Nick Mallett said on SuperSport on Tuesday night that he would pick Lionel Mapoe as Janse van Rensburg's midfield partner, with the former Bok coach giving the following explanation: “You’ve got the Lions centre pairing of Janse van Rensburg and Lionel Mapoe, who played brilliantly in Super Rugby. Given that Janse van Rensburg is on form at the moment, given that Mapoe is very confident playing outside him, it would make sense to play the two of them...”

But what will the Springbok brains trust do? All will be revealed at the team announcement on Thursday afternoon...

Herman Mostert works at Sport24 - is a struggling golfer and enjoys tennis...

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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