Boks on Tour

Div favours direct approach

2010-12-01 22:23
Peter de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Stephen Nell

London – If the Springbok rugby tour to the United Kingdom and Ireland achieved anything beyond the results, it’s to settle any debate in the mind of coach Peter de Villiers about the playing style his team will use in future.

“If you can go through people, why try and run around them?,” De Villiers said on a philosophical note on Wednesday about the South African style that has been established over decades.

As if to illustrate the point, De Villiers picked two props – Tendai Mtawarira and Werner Kruger – on his substitutes bench for Saturday’s match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Kruger was called up after De Villiers decided not to expose Jannie and Bismarck du Plessis to risk. The Du Plessis-brothers are apparently still feeling the weekend’s bumps and bruises.

De Villiers has also not picked a specialist fetching flank for the weekend and rather opted for three big loose forwards in Willem Alberts, Juan Smith and Ryan Kankowski.

“We are a direct team. It will be suicide to move outside our structures against the side that the Barbarians picked. They will look to run from everywhere because they have strong backs and a mobile pack. It will be suicidal to play to their strengths,” said De Villiers.

“Keegan Daniel is a utility loose forward rather than a No 6 that plays to the ball. I’d rather opt for a bigger player that can punch holes and then send Keegan on when the game opens up.”

Three of the players in the Boks’ run-on side – loosehead prop Coenie Oosthuizen, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and centre Andries Strauss – will all make their Bok debuts. The same will apply to Kruger and reserve scrumhalf Charl McLeod if they are sent on, though the match does not carry test status.

As is the case with lock Alistair Hargreaves, Jantjies and Oosthuizen have toured with the side without seeing any action in the tests.

Not only will Jantjies be the Boks’ general, but he will also kick at goal. Patrick Lambie was picked at fullback.

“I learnt more about Elton these past three weeks than what I saw in the Currie Cup. My observation in the Currie Cup was that he’s a technically sound flyhalf that sparked the Lions backline,” said De Villiers.

“What I have learned here is that he is a thinker about the game, will question things and make a contribution rather than just sit and listen. He’s a very strong character.”

De Villiers is hoping Strauss gives him “stability” in the Bok midfield.

“He’s a good organiser on attack and defence. We need someone like that without Jean de Villiers there. It’s important to have someone that brings some calm to Elton,” said the coach.

“Andries was the most effective defender at No 12 in the Currie Cup and was responsible for a lot of turnover ball and getting momentum for the Sharks. I hope he can do the same for us.”

De Villiers believes the match against the star-studded Barbarians backline will be a good learning curve for his youngsters.

“It can make or break a player and I believe it’s the biggest test of these young players to date. We’re not focusing on stopping the Barbarians, but on playing to our pattern. If we can first get forward momentum and then take the ball wide, I believe we’ll be on the right track to the World Cup.”

The Springbok team is: Patrick Lambie, Odwa Ndungane, Adi Jacobs, Andries Strauss, Lwazi Mvovo, Elton Jantjies, Francois Hougaard, Ryan Kankowski, Juan Smith (capt), Willem Alberts, Alistair Hargreaves, Bakkies Botha, CJ van der Linde, Adriaan Strauss, Coenie Oosthuizen. Substitutes Bandise Maku, Tendai Mtawarira, Werner Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Keegan Daniel, Gio Aplon.

Read more on:    boks on tour  |  peter de villiers  |  boks  |  barbarians

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