Righto, so based on the win in BA, all the
Boks need to do to win the Rugby World Cup is have a firecracker inserted where the
sun don’t shine, play more of a territory-based game than a ball in hand one,
don’t miss any kicks at goal, and be assigned competent referees willing to
call a game as they see it rather than on perception.
The team and management control the first
two factors, Messrs Lambie and Pollard can work on the third, but I am afraid
there is more chance of me succumbing to anorexia than the fourth
factor coming to fruition.
No doubt something Heyneke Meyer will
ponder deeply when finalising the composition of his World Cup squad, set to be
announced next Friday in Durban, is how many of the “old guard” that are currently crocked will he risk accommodating
in order to maintain calm when all things around them are collapsing.
Given Meyer’s “eggs in
one basket” selection policy during his tenure, and his now public call to go
back to a “Springbok rugby” game plan for the tournament, I would not be
surprised to see all of them in the 31 man squad, but perhaps a quick gander at
said “ou ballies”:
Victor Matfield: Not
currently crocked, but more masking tape needed to keep him in one piece than
ever. One has to wonder how many paths have been blocked by the decision to
bring him back, but this bed is now well and truly laid. He must go to the
World Cup, and to be fair, he still adds massive value to the Bok lineout.
Francois Louw: No
brainer. Will be well and truly over his injury in time for the start of the
tournament. Class act as a fetcher, which the Boks must employ.
Jean de Villiers:
Biggest call of them all. Current skipper and legend of the game. But he has
been out the game for a very long time, and did not exactly cover himself in
glory in the Durban loss to the Pumas. If not a first XV starter, or even 23
man squad member, his being in the UK might be disruptive. Could play the Bob
Skinstad role of 2007, though, and with Damien de Allende just a smidgen off
his game, De Villiers could be a masterstroke at inside centre with Jesse
Kriel. Selection poser that would be keeping me from sleep if I was Meyer.
Fourie du Preez: We
have seen the impact he makes on the side, even after being away from the game
for long periods. Pending medical advice on the injury, a no brainer,
especially given that he will be one of three scrumhalves in the squad.
Frans Steyn: That
massive boot (and frame) could well sway Meyer. But for me, he comes with too
much disruptive history, be it of his own or SARU’s accord. Looks like he
carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. The Boks have moved on.
Definitely looks a better player for his stint in France, but in Pat Lambie and
Handre Pollard, the Boks are very well served at flyhalf. Together with Elton
Jantjies, a good option to have at home should the injury curse strike.
Duane Vermeulen: By
all accounts, will be ready for that third pool game against Scotland. Hugely
risky to bring a player recovering from neck surgery straight back into World
Cup rugby. And will impact on the squad composition. But if ever there was a player
worth risking something for, it is this man. Pending medical advice, I would
Willem Alberts: By all
accounts, suffering a lower back the equivalent of an 80-year-old which needs
constant nurturing and management. Did get through 60 minutes on the weekend
though, and at his best, is one of the best ball carriers in the game,
something so very vital to the Meyer game plan. As long as Heinrich Brussow can
also make the squad, I would risk Alberts.
Jannie du Plessis: Came
under massive fire prior to his injury, but that faction has gone extremely
quiet having seen the Boks without him at tighthead prop. Break will have done
him good. No brainer selection.
All World Cup winning
coaches will tell you how key experience is to a campaign. Not at the expense
of keeping the energy, enthusiasm, and “vibe” high throughout the tournament
though. Some key calls to be made between now and the 28th.
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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