Durban - There are a few positions in the Springbok squad that are set in stone as preparations for this year’s Rugby World Cup continue, and one of those appears to be at fullback in the form of Wille le Roux.
There had been speculation this week that the 25-year-old would be rested for Saturday’s clash against the Pumas in Durban - for one of two reasons.
The return of Jean de Villiers meant that Bok coach Heyneke Meyer had to break up the much-hyped centre pairing of Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel. Moving Kriel to fullback, where he thrived in Super Rugby for the Bulls this year, was an option.
Then there was also the small matter of Pat Lambie.
The Sharks flyhalf was made to answer questions at Tuesday’s Springbok press conference in Durban, and that combined with the fact that Handre Pollard was suffering from concussion - which prompted the belief that Lambie would start on Saturday.
With Morne Steyn also knocking on the door at 10, some believed that Lambie would start at fullback in front of his home crowd for some much-needed game time while Le Roux would get a rest.
But Meyer has kept faith in the soon-to-be Sharks man.
“I’m still in the side so the coach must have some faith in me. If you get game time every week you get better so for me it’s just about playing and getting better and performing on the field,” said Le Roux.
“You want to go out there and enjoy yourself but you can’t make too many mistakes because there’s a guy waiting for his chance in the squad. It keeps you on your toes week in and week out.”
Turning his attention to Saturday, Le Roux was expecting to be busy in the air, while he was also hoping for a more ruthless display from the Boks in what he called a “must-win” game.
“They like to box it. I’m expecting a kicking battle on Saturday. I’ll need to get up in the air and take those balls... that’s my job,” he said.
“We create so many opportunities to score tries but we just don’t finish it. For the weekend if we create those opportunities we have to finish them and then just play for the full 80.”
Kick-off on Saturday is 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