Durban - Heyneke Meyer says this has been one his toughest weeks as Springbok coach.
That was the Bok mentor’s reaction when asked how difficult it was to leave Sharks pivot Pat Lambie out of the starting line-up for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina at Kings Park.
Lambie had looked a shoo-in to start the match after it was revealed earlier in the week that Handre Pollard was being treated for concussion. It all pointed towards the perfect opportunity to give Lambie a start.
But Pollard has recovered and will start on Saturday.
Any hopes of Lambie getting a game at fullback were also dashed when Willie le Roux kept his place and it is now clear that Lambie’s role at the Rugby World Cup will be as an impact player off the bench.
“It’s been one of the toughest weeks for me as Springbok coach because you’ve got 40 players and every single guy wants to play,” Meyer said.
“Pat hasn’t played a lot but I just felt... you still have to go and win the Test match.
“Pollard now is just starting to get back to form, with Ruan (Pienaar) and with Damian (De Allende) there. Already with the moves with Jean (De Villiers) and Jesse (Kriel) you don’t want to start a whole new backline.
“If it wasn’t South Africa you probably could have played a lot of players, but in South Africa you have to win. That’s most important.
“I probably wanted to give Pat a run at 15 but I thought that we have to have some kind of continuity in this game. He’ll probably come from the bench and play there.”
Meyer added that it was also tough to leave out Morne Steyn and Elton Jantjies.
“A guy like Morne (Steyn) was close to the side. He’s not available next week so that probably means he’s not going to get a chance and he wants to play himself back into contention,” said Meyer.
“Elton has also had a good Super Rugby.”
Saturday’s clash kicks off at 17:05.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo