Rugby World Cup 2011

Who’ll work on floor for Boks?

2011-09-19 22:57
Schalk Burger (Gallo Images)





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.

WIN a pair of the new adidas rugby boots

WIN a Rugby World Cup ball

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

* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA
 

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
 
Teams

Pool A

 
 
 
 

Pool B

 
 
 
 

Pool C

 
 
 
 

Pool D

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tank Lanning

Lessons learnt from RWC 2011

2011-10-26 16:45

A few vital life lessons from Tank Lanning's recent trip to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup quarter and semi-finals. Read More

 
Rugby World Cup Wallpapers

Download your favourite RWC wallpaper here

 
Weather

Auckland

Tuesday

Sunny. Cool.

Low
High

8°C
16°C

Current Conditions
 
Vote

Taking into account where it will be held, the likely player retirements and new coaches in charge, which team looks best-placed to mount a challenge to the All Blacks at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England?

 
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.