Rugby Championship

Flo primed to boost Boks

2012-09-03 11:36
Francois Louw (Gallo)
Cape Town – Francois Louw has confirmed his match readiness ahead of the Springboks’ crucial Castle Rugby Championship match against Australia in Perth on Saturday.

Louw was one of two “new” loose forwards – the other the yet-uncapped Duane Vermeulen -- added to coach Heyneke Meyer’s squad for a game South Africa almost certainly need to win if they are to stay in realistic contention for the title with the in-form All Blacks.

Substitute Keegan Daniel has been axed since the disappointing draw with Argentina in Mendoza and starting blindsider Jacques Potgieter is widely tipped to get the chop as well after being mostly cumbersome and ineffectual against the fired-up Pumas.

Some eyebrows were raised when Meyer summoned both Vermeulen and Louw, considering that the former has only recently returned to Currie Cup action for Western Province after long-term injury – he is yet to see out a full game – whilst the English-based latter was plucked out of pre-season mode with Bath.

So it represented timely good news for the Boks that, on Saturday, while the rest of the squad flew to Perth, Louw reportedly played the entire 80 minutes of their Premiership opener away to the Worcester Warriors, with Bath stealing the game 24-23 courtesy of Olly Barkley’s last-kick-of-the-match penalty.

English newspaper reports suggest it was far from a classic, with the visitors a trifle fortunate and Louw not getting any special mentions for positive input from his flank berth, but his simply completing a properly competitive fixture will have pleased the Bok brains trust.

It means the former Stormers favourite may be a dark horse for a starting spot against the Wallabies, although a bench place may be a more realistic scenario, with Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts (back at No 7) and Vermeulen arguably favourites for the loose forward slots in the run-on XV.

Louw also played a full-blooded role a fortnight ago when Bath beat Cardiff Blues in a pre-season friendly, where he apparently out-smarted Wales captain Sam Warburton, one of the premier open-siders in world rugby at present.

At the time, the website Keo.co.za quoted Louw as saying: “I believe I am playing the best rugby of my career.”

 Perhaps the only snag, in Louw’s case, is that he joins the Bok camp a little belatedly and after a particularly gruelling trek across time zones to Australia.

The Bok side is due to be announced by Meyer at the Pan-Pacific Hotel in Perth on Wednesday.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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