Tri-Nations

Rossouw: Yes, he's best at lock

2011-08-16 18:30
Danie Rossouw (File)
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Although that near-forgotten concept -  a win - would be especially welcome on Saturday, the Springboks appear to be moving closer toward identifying the best positional slots for some of their more versatile forwards at the World Cup.

In a line-up changed fairly significantly for a variety of reasons to face the All Blacks in the Castle Tri-Nations Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, a standout feature is the makeup of the reserves - happily suggesting that stalwarts John Smit and Danie Rossouw, in particular, have finally been pigeon-holed correctly.

Neither makes the starting cut, after doing so against Australia in Durban, but this was an expected “rotational” move as they were among few of the team’s senior core to get full involvement on the away leg of the competition.

But the manner in which they are being deployed among the substitutes for the latest challenge strongly hints that Smit will not again be put through the relative indignity, as he focuses keenly on the requirements of hooker for RWC 2011, of being asked to assist in propping the scrum for the latter part of a game.

It bombed badly at Mr Price Kings Park, and it seems lessons have been learnt: with two props, Beast Mtawarira and CJ van der Linde, on the bench in a five-two split between forwards and backs, there is precious little chance that the veteran captain (though Victor Matfield takes temporary charge this weekend) will have to think about anything but the possibility that he replaces Bismarck du Plessis at No 2 at some point.

Just as wise, it seems, is the obvious signal that Rossouw will be the designated lock replacement against New Zealand, as Gerhard Mostert is withdrawn completely from the match-day 22. Expect Rossouw to get some game-time in the second row around the hour mark as his old Bulls ally Bakkies Botha takes a breather.

That is a tactic the Super Rugby franchise have successfully employed over the course of several seasons and there is no special reason to believe it will suddenly backfire at international level now.

Rossouw, for me, is first and foremost a Test-class lock, however useful the extra “loosie” string to his bow can be.

And with Andries Bekker ruled out of the World Cup, I believe the big man needs to be put in specialist lock mode with some urgency - he is easily the most suitable back-up to Botha and potentially even for Matfield’s No 5 shirt should the need arise.

I view Rossouw, ever the exemplary squad man, this way: comfortingly mobile and suitably rugged as a lock, yet perhaps not quite speedy or dynamic enough for the modern demands of loose forward on dry, firm fields.

The start Willem Alberts - another big, bruising No 7 - gets against New Zealand after recovering fully from injury gives the Sharks player an opportunity to confirm his own credentials for a berth among the Bok back row at the World Cup.

Alberts, a decent schoolboy all-rounder at cricket, arguably boasts superior hand skills to Rossouw, who can also be a bit upright at times as he goes into contact as a blindside flank.

And the Boks lose absolutely nothing in physicality and formidable leg drive, of course, with Alberts assuming that spot ...
 

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Why WP may be less nervy

2014-10-21 23:37

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
36 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

6 impressive camping tips

Check out these great tips that will make your camping experience so much better!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Free outdoor yoga classes
Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding
Action camera for all occasions
Tips on how to set your fitness goals
Vote

Peter de Villiers, Pierre Spies, Butch James and Victor Matfield are all bringing out biographies later this year. Which one are you most looking forward to reading?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.