Meyer: Coenie best prop in SA
Bloemfontein - Coenie Oosthuizen is the leading South African prop in the Super Rugby tournament and has to be in the Springbok squad for this year's World Cup.
GALLERY: Cheetahs prepare for Canes
That was the view of former Bok prop Willie Meyer when asked about the Cheetahs rookie who became a Springbok at the end of last year.
Meyer believes that Oosthuizen, Beast Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis and CJ van der Linde are the four props that should represent the Boks at the World Cup in New Zealand if current form is used as a yardstick.
There is also no place in Meyer's front row for John Smit and he will take him to the tournament as a non-playing captain - similar to what is done in Davis Cup tennis.
Meyer believes Oosthuizen is standing out thanks to his high work-rate and he could become a big Springbok if he remains focused.
"Coenie is outstanding and has an excellent future ahead of him if he remains down to earth and keeps concentrating on the game. He should ignore off the ball issues," said Meyer.
Oosthuizen (22) is one of a few rookies that became Springboks at the end of last year and together with Sharks flyhalf Patrick Lambie may be exactly what the Boks' World Cup onslaught needs.
The Boks are being criticised for relying too much on experienced players from the 2007 World Cup campaign for this year's tournament.
While Oosthuizen has not yet played a test, he has already showed enough promise at a young age to demonstrate that he could have a lengthy Bok career.
On top of that Bulls prop Gurthrö Steenkamp, who is expected to be the Boks' first choice at the World Cup, is currently injured and Bok coach Peter de Villiers has to think about options if his leading players are not available.
Oosthuizen has conceded a lot of penalties in this year's tournament, but it may well be a result of his high work-rate. The loosehead prop's tackle count is among the highest in the Cheetahs team every week and he also competes for the ball on the ground like a flank forward.
It also usually requires more than one defender to bring him to ground when he's got the ball.
However, Oosthuizen has struggled with the strict application of the scrum laws on the Cheetahs' overseas tour and conceded unnecessary penalties at the scrums. He would like to bring that number down to further strengthen his bid for a place in the Boks' World Cup squad.
According to Rugbyheaven.com, Oosthuizen is the most penalised player in Super Rugby, having conceded 19 penalties. However, many of those penalties were not conceded at the scrums. For example, he was often unfairly penalised on the ground against the Reds when he was trying to win possession.
Oosthuizen's high work-rate shows in the statistics that he is one of the tournament's top runners with ball in hand (56).
Meyer added that Smit's current form definitely did not merit a place in the Bok team.
"Currently I would not consider him as a player, but as a non-playing captain like they have in Davis Cup tennis."