Four Boks make ‘World XV’

2012-06-25 11:25
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo)
Cape Town – Four Springboks have earned the nod for a phantom ‘world’ combination picked by a leading English rugby scribe after completion of the June Test window across the planet.

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It appears hard to quibble with too many of the selections by Robert Kitson of The Guardian, who was on England’s South African safari, and made after several series were completed in the designated three-week period.

With New Zealand and Australia whipping Ireland and Wales respectively by 3-0 margins, and the Springboks seeing off England 2-0 with one draw, his picks pretty fairly illustrate the ongoing supremacy of the game in the southern hemisphere – he finds room for only two players from the “north” in his XV, and they are both props in the shape of Ireland’s loosehead Cian Healy and Welsh tighthead Adam Jones.

Otherwise, it is all SANZAR-linked players as he includes six All Blacks (five of them in his backline), four Boks and three Australians.

The South Africans earning his approval are brawny blindside flank Willem Alberts – badly missed in Port Elizabeth on Saturday? – hooker Bismarck du Plessis, right wing JP Pietersen and, in a nod for his strides in green and gold this month as a mere 20-year-old, lock Eben Etzebeth.

Critics in these parts might be inclined to suspect others like industrious open-side flank Marcell Coetzee, Bok captain and outside centre Jean de Villiers (though he fell away a little in the final Test after an excellent first two) and perhaps Jannie du Plessis, who is combining better work-rate with scrumming solidity at No 3, would have come reasonably close.

Tellingly, Kitson’s halfbacks are the cutting-edge All Black pair of ever-polished Dan Carter and scrumhalf newcomer Aaron Smith: with Morne Steyn and Francois Hougaard largely out of sorts against England, South Africa seemed highly unlikely to get a look-in for those slots.

This is the ‘Test window XV’ Kitson chose ... what do Sport24 readers think?:

15 Israel Dagg (NZ), 14 JP Pietersen (SA), 13 Conrad Smith (NZ), 12 Sonny Bill Williams (NZ), 11 Digby Ioane (Aus), 10 Dan Carter (NZ) 9 Aaron Smith (NZ), 8 Kieran Read (NZ), 7 Willem Alberts (SA), 6 David Pocock (Aus), 5 Nathan Sharpe (Aus), 4 Eben Etzebeth (SA), 3 Adam Jones (Wal), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (SA), 1 Cian Healy (Ire).

Read more on:    springboks  |  eben etzebeth  |  rugby


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