Cape Town - In response to a Sport24 article in which we highlighted five players who weren't part of the Springboks' squad that played against Ireland, but could add spark for the Rugby Championship, Sport24 reader Pieter Oberholzer suggests two more...
At the time I felt there were 2 names omitted. One month later, as things panned, I am more convinced than ever that I am right.
Coetzee should not let Vincent Koch go. He is the best tighthead in South Africa by far. Most rugby fans have never coached a team and have very little understanding of what is going on in the front row. Therefore they were mislead by a very clever loose head (Marcos Ayerza) and an incompetent referee. I am referring to the test match against Argentina before the Rugby World Cup in 2015. If you look at what happened there you will see that in the first scrum of the match Koch clearly had the upperhand over his opponent. From the second scrum the Puma started with a combination of illegal tactics and the referee completely lost the plot. Koch has since then proved (again) that he is not only the best scrummager, but also a force to be reckoned with in the loose.
By the way, the pecking order of tight heads in South Africa is Koch, Redelinghuys and Malherbe a distant third.
Another player Coetzee must get back from France is Jacques du Plessis. South Africa is blessed with a number of quality locks (Etzebeth, Du Toit, De Jager and Mostert). Fact is there are two more young locks in France that can compete with the abovementioned at anytime. They are Paul Willemse and Du Plessis. We cannot keep all our young talent, but if Coetzee does not select them my prediction is that Willemse and Du Plessis will be the lock pairing of France at the World Cup in 2019.
Now, what do you do with Du Plessis with all the available talent? Du Plessis is a brilliant no 5, but he is as good as a no 7. Kolisi did not make the grade in the series against Ireland. He is injured now and we do not have to debate his credentials. Du Plessis is a much more forceful player and will get us over the advantage line. Furthermore he is a world class lineout jumper and there is nothing wrong with his ball skills or his heart. Du Plessis is an asset on the long term and Coetzee will be wise to make an investment in him like he is doing with Steven Kitshoff.
Can you imagine the possibilities at 5 and 7 with Jacques du Plessis and Pieter-Steph du Toit in your group? (Yes, Pieter-Steph should not be underestimated as a no 7, but that is a debate for another day).