Theron: Boks need Smit
Kimberley - There are enough quality props in South African rugby for the Springboks to be competitive at scrum-time during the Rugby World Cup in September, says former Bok prop and current national Under-20 coach, Dawie Theron.
Although it appears at present that Bok skipper John Smit is being nurtured as a loosehead prop as he wouldn't make the squad on current form as a hooker, according to Theron, Smit showed in the Sharks game against the Lions in Durban last Saturday, that he simply has to make the trip to New Zealand later this year.
“John has shown how valuable he is at loosehead. He’s scrummaging was very good against the Lions and it looks as though he is getting comfortable in the position. And, he has World Cup experience, something you can't easily replace.”
Theron believes Bok coach Peter de Villiers will also consider Gurthrö Steenkamp and Tendai "Beast" Mtawarira for the loosehead position.
“Beast showed his scrummaging power when he played against the British and Irish Lions. He will definitely be considered. You can't speak too highly about Gurthrö. He is the complete package. His scrumming is world-class and also has an uncanny knack of scoring tries.”
However, Theron believes it’s at tighthead where the Bok coach will have more headaches ahead of the World Cup.
“He may not have started against the Lions, but Jannie du Plessis is currently playing good rugby.”
“Someone who could be a dark horse is the Sharks' Eugene van Staden. He showed against the Lions that he could be a factor. He just needs to improve his fitness.
“And you can't discount CJ van der Linde. He is able to play both loosehead and tighthead and that will definitely count in his favour.”
"Mobility also needs to be considered, which is something that is not commonplace among props," admitted Theron.
“It is always nice to know you have props that are able to run with the ball, but you can’t compromise scrummaging power for ball-carrying.”