Pretoria - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer dropped a hint at how his loose trio for the future will look by branding the three young players that have played in the Incoming Series “world beaters” if they continue their development upwards.
While Arno Botha is possibly the biggest injury disappointment for the Bok coach during these three weeks, the young Bulls forward showed in the Test match against Italy that he can effectively combine with Francois Louw and Pierre Spies and was it not for his injury, would – in Meyer’s words “be challenging Pierre Spies for his position.”
But the door left open by Botha’s injury was the perfect opportunity for young Siya Kolisi, who grabbed it with both hands to have a dream debut and be given the man-of-the-match award.
It was a testament to the hard work and talent of Kolisi, who has been waiting for a year to make the breakthrough.
The combination of Botha and Kolisi is a mouth-watering prospect, and not bad to have as back-up to Spies and Willem Alberts, especially as Duanne Vermeulen is also in the wings injured at the moment.
It is therefore understandable that Meyer is so excited about the prospect of playing them going forward, and barring injuries, these two can work their way into the World Cup squad in 2015.
“The guys coming through now will be world beaters going forward” the Bok coach said, underlining the fact he sees so much promise in both the likes of Botha and Kolisi.
That in itself may be bad news for other loose forwards, but with Lappies Labuschagne also in the mix, it is probably going to be difficult for any other loose forward to dislodge the youngsters in the squad. If anything, one of the older players may fall by the wayside if they don’t keep their game on the level that is expected by the national coach.
And as he has said several times before, Meyer picks on character.
The same character that both Botha – who underwent his knee operation yesterday and is unlikely to play again this year – and Kolisi both displayed in their appearances in the Green and Gold.
Meyer said Kolisi’s performance had impressed him to no end, but added that he had been eyeing Kolisi for some time now.
As part of the Bok young guns squad last year Meyer predicted he would play “within a year” for the Boks, a prophecy that was ultimately fulfilled last weekend.
"I don’t just look at one performance, I thought he has been played well for a long time now.
"Last year he got injured and this year was an up and down season for him. But one thing about certain players, once they get to the Boks they lift themselves.
"I’m really sad that Arno Botha got injured, he was also a guy I would look at 8," Meyer said.
And while Marcelle Coetzee has endured a tough season since bursting onto the scene last year, Meyer reminded his critics that he has been playing without a break since the beginning of last season.
"In the last year he has played every game, and it is just human that sooner or later he needs a break," Meyer said.