Young players to ignite Boks
Durban – Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is hoping the injection of youthful enthusiasm in the squad for the tour of Britain and Ireland proves infectious and spurs on some of his older hands.
Elton Jantjies, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Willem Alberts, Keegan Daniel and Coenie Oosthuizen may all be in line for their Test debuts on a tour that kicks off against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.
There are also Tests against Wales, Scotland and England before the tour finishes with a match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
Victor Matfield will lead the side in the absence of the injured John Smit.
Jaque Fourie, Wynand Olivier, Andries Bekker, Fourie du Preez, Heinrich Brüssow, JP Pietersen, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Butch James and BJ Botha are not available due to injuries.
De Villiers said that he had also decided to rest Danie Rossouw to have him at his best next year.
The performances by Lambie, Mvovo, Daniel and Alberts for the Sharks in Saturday’s Currie Cup final would certainly have been a positive for De Villiers.
Lambie’s 25 points in the 30-10 final win over Western Province is second only to the record of 26 that Derick Hougaard set for an individual in a Currie Cup final.
Prior to Saturday, Naas Botha and Braam van Straaten were joint-second on 24 points.
“Those young guys showed a lot of character under huge pressure,” said De Villiers.
“They kept their heads and I believe they can add a lot of value. The hunger of the young players can ignite what we need so badly with the senior guys.”
Sharks coach John Plumtree also heaped praise on Lambie when asked about his flyhalf.
“Patrick played a huge final. I think he moved up a few steps mentally and decided that he would grow up quickly in this year’s Currie Cup. He has matured a lot,” said Plumtree.
Plumtree was also delighted that Daniel was rewarded for him form after not making the initial Bok training squad.
“I was horrified about him not being in the recent Bok training squad. His performance in the final justifies his inclusion. Keegan was outstanding and telling him that he’s a Springbok was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve had to do in rugby,” he said.
WP No 8 Duane Vermeulen can again consider himself unlucky not to make the Bok squad.
De Villiers said the call to include Daniel was made when combinations were discussed.