Ex-Springboks pick Bok centres
Carel du Plessis (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Three former Springbok backs have picked their favourites for the Bok midfield after outside centre Jaque Fourie made himself unavailable for at least the next two seasons.
The 29-year-old Fourie has a two-year contract with the Kobe Steel Kobelco Steelers in Japan and said while he plays there he won’t be available for the Springboks.
This is a big blow for the Springboks after coach Heyneke Meyer made it clear he wants to pick an experienced team for the upcoming three-Test series against England in June.
“His decision is definitely a sad day for Springbok rugby. He is one of the best ever and could have played 50 more Tests," said Meyer.
However, while there's no doubt that Fourie's experience will be missed against the touring English, a few former Boks believe there's enough talent and experience to fill the void.
Carel du Plessis, former Bok winger and coach, agrees that for now Meyer should opt for experience.
"Frans Steyn and Jean de Villiers could provide the answer," Du Plessis told Volksblad
"Frans is strong, physical and intimidating. Jean is, like Frans, experienced and his distribution is good. They'll provide the answer in the short term.
"But in the long term Heyneke would want to establish a combination as soon as possible. If I look at youngsters, Robert Ebersohn is starting to show signs of a Test player."
Du Plessis said he's still worried about Stormers centre Juan de Jongh's distribution and decision making.
Meyer would also hope that De Villiers recovers in time from a hand injury, which he picked up playing for the Stormers against the Crusaders over the weekend.
Former Bok centre Helgard Muller also feels De Villiers and Steyn should make up the Springbok midfield for the England series. "After that they can look at guys like Robert (Ebersohn) and Juan (de Jongh)," said Muller.
But legendary Bok outside centre Danie Gerber feels Ebersohn is ready to start against England. No other local outside centre has impressed Gerber so far in Super Rugby.
"He's got a lot of 'ball' in him and I'll definitely pick him (as Fourie's successor)," said Gerber.