Coetzee backs Malherbe, Pietersen

2016-06-23 18:03
Frans Malherbe (Gallo)

Cape Town - Despite the Springboks beating Ireland 32-26 in Johannesburg last weekend, there was enough poor rugby on display to get rugby lovers concerned. 

While the last 20 minutes saw the Boks pull the match out of the fire to record a dramatic win, there are one or two players who have been copping a bit of criticism following the lackluster South African showing in that opening hour.  

Two of those players are Frans Malherbe and JP Pietersen. 

Malherbe has been heavily penalised over both Tests while Pietersen has been accused of being static and lacking in influence. 

Coach Allister Coetzee backed both players by selecting them in the starting line-up for this Saturday's series decider in Port Elizabeth. 

"I am the coach and I make the decision," Coetzee said bluntly at Thursday's team announcement.

"I look at Frans. Sometimes when the tackle is made the Irish players are on our side and it's difficult to get over that body ... so the easiest way to get to the cleaner is from that side.

"But no excuse for Frans. He conceded three penalties at ruck time.

"But if I must look at a player and say 'now you're conceding penalties and you're conceding penalties, now you're dropped' ... I don't work like that.

"Frans has got other attributes where he's made 10 tackles, where he is at the breakdown, where he has slowed the ball down ... I do look at other contributions."

Coetzee also defended Malherbe at scrum time.

"Frans has been excellent at scrum time and I don't think he's been penalised at scrum time," he said.

"Players will make mistakes and one has got to be careful."

Turning his attention to Pietersen, Coetzee acknowledged that he could be getting more out of his 2007 World Cup-winner.

"JP has been solid. The last few kick-offs we had in the second half (in Johannesburg), he fielded both," said Coetzee.

"I'm really happy with his aerial skills. I still feel JP can do more, and we had a discussion. I want him to be more involved.

"He can really go look for a bit more work and hopefully we will see that this weekend.

"There is no excuse for wingers not to get involved more because is our plan is such that they can come off their line and look for work.

"I'm looking for both JP and Ruan (Combrinck) to do that this weekend, because they've got pace and they can be destructive."


South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira 

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Lwazi Mvovo


15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best (captain) 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Finlay Bealham, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Morgan 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Matt Healy


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