News24

Who’ll work on floor for Boks?

2011-09-19 22:57

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - The Springboks have put out some particularly heavy rollers for their World Cup Pool D meeting with limited neighbours Namibia at North Harbour on Thursday.

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Clearly the intention is to simply stampede the desert warriors up front, to the point that they won’t see much of the ball themselves and a contest for turnovers on the deck will thus be rendered pretty irrelevant.

At least that seems to be the plan, but if it somehow goes awry then running up a “cricket score” may not be guaranteed, because a notably upright, ball-carrying pack was named on Monday.

Indeed, the Boks had better hope that Namibia don’t get the sort of unexpected possession and territorial foothold that fellow-minnows Georgia did in their fighting performance against 2007 finalists England in another group at the weekend.

The Bok starting XV, you see - sporting five changes from the side which emerged from the tunnel against Fiji - is not ideally equipped for stealth in the breakdown department.

Then again, remedies will not be far away because the bench, just a little strangely, contains both of the squad’s designated open-side flanks in Heinrich Brüssow and Francois Louw.

Giving Brüssow, such a vital element of the Bok bid to retain the Webb Ellis Cup, a partial role at best on this occasion makes a lot of sense, but I had expected the Boks to field Louw, who is in chronic need of a full match or close to it, in his place - that would be useful if Brüssow went down injured and the spotlight was suddenly to fall heavily on the Bath and ex-Stormers flanker.

Instead that imposing physical specimen Willem Alberts has been named in the No 6 jersey, although it may well be that Schalk Burger, who has been playing some inspired rugby at blind-side of late, is the main element playing to the ball at the outset on Thursday.

There is a case for saying the balance in the various positional combinations oughtn’t matter too much against Namibia, who lost 105-13 the last (and only previous) time they played the Boks - a warm-up meeting at Newlands ahead of the 2007 World Cup.

Burger scored a hat-trick of tries that evening, among the 15 dotted down by South Africa.

The blond flank will be among four Bok “survivors” from that occasion who will operate at North Harbour: the others are Jaque Fourie, Bakkies Botha and CJ van der Linde, the last-named player getting his first RWC 2011 start as tighthead anchorman Jannie du Plessis is among some stalwarts rested.

Some combinations are shrewdly kept intact for continuity purposes following the generally acclaimed 49-3 victory over Fiji, like the midfield alliance of Fourie and Frans Steyn and lock pairing of Botha and in-form Danie Rossouw.

Perhaps the most significant selection - although it is foolhardy sometimes to read too much into picks for a task against obviously lower-tier foes - is that of Francois Hougaard at scrumhalf ahead of veteran Fourie du Preez.

The 59-capper has been one standout from the 2007 success not to fire on all cylinders yet for the Boks in 2011, so maybe there is a bit of a deliberate “wake-up call” involved in his curtailment to the bench.

Personally, I still suspect that Hougaard will have to play out of his skin, and then some, if he is to displace Du Preez for bigger encounters down the line, but if this effervescent, adaptable character does deliver the goods in a green jersey again - and for once in a starting role - he may at least cause some serious head-scratching in a few days’ time.

If the “class is permanent” theory is going to be kept strongly in mind, Du Preez will still have a big say in Springbok health later in the tournament …

Teams:

South Africa:
15 Pat Lambie, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp.

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Francois Louw, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Fourie du Preez, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Juan de Jongh.

Namibia:

TBA

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Sport24

Comments
  • Samurai Demo - 2011-09-19 23:10

    90-0. hougaard should play ahead of habana in the big games if fdp is gonna start at 9. repeat sa-eng final ! sorry mcwhore. the sa-oz quarter-final is gonna be a block-buster . . .

      BrainPWR - 2011-09-20 08:20

      Agreed with Hougie over Habana. I just think fdp needs as much game time as possible to get him into form. I think we have to play him against namibia coz an on form fdp is better than any other scummie in the world.

      warerugby - 2011-09-20 09:51

      Hail to you! Great to meet someone that REALLY knows there rugby! I call it iot WARE RUGBY.

  • Johan Potgieter - 2011-09-19 23:26

    This team will steamroll over Nam! We will once again employ a high pace running rugby game like our previous encounter.

      Pooh-Bear - 2011-09-20 00:36

      I'm already feeling sorry for Namibia, but least they have full-time jobs to go back to, and I mean that with all due respect

  • brok3news - 2011-09-19 23:36

    Good idea to make use of the entire squad.. but certain players like Fourie Du Preez need more game time to shake off their rust..

      Pooh-Bear - 2011-09-20 00:35

      Good point. Maybe he'll come on in 2nd half though, but it's probably a good thing to let Hougies get some practice at SH

  • slg - 2011-09-20 01:13

    It'll not be the first time this coach surprises with team selections. A fetcher is a staple, but not for Div. No surprise there.

      RandomDude - 2011-09-20 01:59

      he has one on the bench should he need him

      slg - 2011-09-20 02:46

      Gone are the days that a fetcher is optional. How many tests did we lose under Jake before he realized this?

  • Bokstar - 2011-09-20 04:36

    Why include Morne Steyn for the match if he has flu? Play Ruan Pienaar on Fly Half!

      Whoosa - 2011-09-20 06:06

      I'd rather play Morne even if he ad one leg. RP is the most overrated player ever to put his foot on a sportsfield.

      Kris - 2011-09-20 06:48

      I'd rather play a one legged blind donkey who is half mad than Ruan Pienaar, every time that guy touches a rugby ball he either drops it or passes it to the opposition. As soon as he came on at the end of the Fiji game he gave away the ball twice at loose rucks and mauls by not freaking getting it out in time! Skrew that guy, he is a effing liability!

      The Hock - 2011-09-20 08:07

      @Whoosa - Lol! 100% agree. It is a complete mystery to me that we keep including him. If Morne is sick, I'd far rather have pretty much any of the other guys in the squad as fly-half over Pienaar. Gurthro Steenkamp maybe has untapped kicking talent? Pienaar scares the living daylights out of me every time he steps on the field. The scariest thing of all is that (very occasionally) he shows a flash of talent, then everyone loves him, and next time we play him he makes unbelievable rookie mistakes that cost us bigtime!

      Marcus - 2011-09-20 09:31

      Every time R Pienaar steps on the field I die a bit inside... why not Sarel or Vermaak????

  • MJ - 2011-09-20 07:07

    Both fetchers named on the bench?!!! OMG How will the bokke possibly beat Namibia now?!?!!!

      DeonL - 2011-09-20 08:24

      We should beat them by at least 50 points, we just need to starve them of any posession.

  • donald dods - 2011-09-20 07:17

    "Moer Hulle" :)

      SA-FAN - 2011-09-20 11:00

      Yeah like Bakkies Botha almost moerd somebody last week did you see that haha

  • The Hock - 2011-09-20 08:20

    Fetchers being rested = no biggie against Namibia, especially since they're on the bench in case of an emergency. I'm also fine with Willem Alberts getting a chance to start (he deserves it) over Louw, who will probably come on in the second half anyway. Biggest upset is FdP... I love Hougie - he's on form, has tons of flair, and its great that he's getting a chance to start in his preferred position, but somehow feel sad for FdP. He's still a great player and hasn't had such a bad couple of games at the RWC (he's played a key role in other people's glory), but the problem is that we still remember how amazing he used to be and keep comparing him to that guy. Hopefully he can find that form again before Samoa - I'm still a huge fan. I must admit - have been very impressed with Snor this RWC! Good strategy in team selection!

  • Travis - 2011-09-20 08:23

    I like giving Fourie a rest, but I would have preferred to see Ruan at 9, and Hougaard at wing. I rate Hougaard, but is not technically a good scrummie. What he brings to the team is worth its weight in gold, but not convinced of him at 9. Would have like to have seen him have a full run at wing. Still a really strong team. Should be way too strong for Namibia.

  • Brandon96end - 2011-09-20 08:48

    Blah blah. Not required against Namibia and we've got two fetchers on the bench to use are required. No story here.

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