It’s the first Bok squad of the year, it does not include the foreign based players and is missing a raft of injured players, so yes, it is definitely not worth changing your deodorant over it.
But is that not the type of squad Allister Coetzee is working with right now in the Western Cape?
Point being... stuff (I am told this is a family website) happens. Rugby is a contact sport and you just never know what sort of injuries might befall you during the season. So for just that very reason, apart from giving us a much needed break from the dreaded mid Super Rugby tournament lull, it is quite fun to have a little gander at the South African rugby landscape through the lenses in Heyneke Meyer’s glasses...
The biggest losers have to be Lourens Adriaanse and Piet van Zyl. The latter’s star has been on the wane for a while, and given the game time afforded him, one gets the impression that Adriaanse was only ever in the mix as a stop gap measure. To my mind deservedly called up after being quite brilliant for the Cheetahs last year, playing in Jannie du Plessis' shadow this year has cost him dearly.
One can never really begrudge a player a Springbok call up, so instead of looking at those lucky to make the squad, perhaps a look at those that were unlucky not to make the squad?
Names that come to mind include Julian Redelinghuys, Maks van Dyk, Kyle Cooper, Michael Rhodes, Stephan Lewies, Warren Whiteley, Boom Prinsloo, Nizaam Carr, Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach, and Handre Pollard.
One has to hope that Pollard's omission has a lot to do with him captaining the Baby Boks in New Zealand next month, because between him, Johan Goosen and Pat Lambie, the Bok No 10 jersey has the potential to be filled again by a player more in the Henry Honiball mould than the old fashioned Naas Botha one. Marnitz Boshoff’s selection is just tragic. Today’s flyhalf needs to do more.. Think Beauden Barrett, Aaron Cruden and Dan Carter... It’s the reason I would not even think about playing Frans Steyn at 10.
How Whiteley, Prinsloo or Carr do not get a look in is beyond me, especially given that Duane Vermeulen is the only out and out 8 in the squad. Please do not tell me that Willem Alberts would be the option at the base of the scrum should Vermeulen get injured. Please!
I am also not sure Schalk Burger has justified his selection above those three either, but one cannot deny his talismatic effect should the body hold out. It is fantastic to see Heinrich Brussow get a look in, but with Marcell Coetzee and Siya Kolisi seemingly ahead of him in the queue should Francois Louw not be available for some reason, one gets the impression that his name is only there to appease the masses, sadly.
Last week’s missive focussed on the new depth we have at tighthead, with all of Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe and Frans Malherbe getting a mention. It would have been fun to see Redelinghuys in this sort of company, but one cannot fault these selections. Worryingly though, the squad list does seem to suggest Van der Merwe is in as a loosehead with Coenie Oosthuizen remaining Meyer’s backup at tighthead. Oi vei!
The Boks are seemingly a little short at hooker, lock and scrumhalf, but with overseas based players very much a part of the Bok mix these days, one presumes that Schalk Brits, Bakkies Botha and Ruan Pienaar will shore up those three positions.
Meyer will not be fixing anything that aint broke. Victor Matfield will come in for Eben Etzebeth and Frans Steyn will come in for Jaque Fourie. All the other names are only there to make the beer taste sweeter while we debate them round the fire.
Tank is a former Western Province tighthead prop who now heads up Tankman Media, and sprouts forth on all things rugby on the Front Row Grunt
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