Brooke: Boks need a McCaw
London - The Springbok rugby team is currently hampered by their lack of an openside flanker of world-class quality like Richie McCaw.
This was what former All Black loose forward Zinzan Brooke said this week when he was asked about the Boks' struggling form.
"There is no-one like Richie McCaw in South Africa's loose trio. Australia has David Pocock and England has Lewis Moody. South Africa doesn’t have a top openside flanker who can make his mark in contact situations on tour," Brooke said to Sport24 at the announcement of Land Rover as sponsor for the World Cup tournaments in 2011 and 2015.
"Pocock offers the Aussies a good counterpart for McCaw. South Africa has the players but they aren't on tour."
Pretender to the crown Heinrich Brüssow is injured, while the Bok selectors decided not to pick Francois Louw.
Schalk Burger is also injured, and has for some time now ceased to play exclusively as a ball fetcher.
The fetcher job has been given to Deon Stegmann, and on Saturday at Twickenham he will get a chance against England to prove that Brooke's statement is debatable.
In the Test against Scotland, Stegmann was reprimanded by Steve Walsh in Cardiff on numerous occasions, a fact that has led Brooke to wonder about the treatment that South Africa received during the match.
Although the Boks were clearly frustrated by Dickinson, they have decided not to take the referee on in public. Brooke, however, didn't hold back.
"It bothers me when I look at the way in which the match was handled. Juan Smith was punished (for being off his feet) when he was clearly in the right position," said Brooke.
"It is Victor Matfield's right to question decisions on the field and there has to be a problem if he does it six or seven times within a few minutes."
"It will be a very physical game (against England) and I won't hazard a prediction. South Africa is clearly with its back against the wall...South Africans don't like losing and the team now has to react in a positive way."
"There are a few players who aren't playing well, but South Africa's defeats in the Tri-Nations series were not bad, at least."
"If you lose, the way in which it happens is important. England recently lost against New Zealand but took a lot from the match because in the last 20 minutes of the game they played better than the All Blacks."
Brooke isn't worried that the All Blacks appear to be peaking a year before the World Cup tournament. "I believe New Zealand are the favourites."