Which Boks can 'go full 80'?

2011-08-11 19:08

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Durban - However comforting the confirmation on Thursday that the Springboks are right back in A-team mode, there is still a bit of a “wing and a prayer” element about them for the Castle Tri-Nations Test against Australia here.

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Bag-loads of experience suddenly to pin home faith on, yes, but at the same time there are clearly still players carrying niggles and plenty of others who have not sampled a rugby match in its entirety for several weeks.

Not surprisingly, “getting through 80 minutes” was a fairly recurring theme at Thursday’s team announcement press conference in Umhlanga.

The Boks do not have the benefit of a Highveld environment on this occasion - something the Wallabies have traditionally found uncomfortable to deal with - so will be relieved to know that, with mild temperatures expected and humidity around the 70 percent level, their match-shy troops won’t be entering the sort of sauna that can make late-summer Super Rugby matches so gruelling in this city.

Considering the wealth of street wisdom and familiar positional combinations in the Bok line-up, coach Peter de Villiers said he does not expect his charges to be caught too cold in the early stages of the match: it is as the clock winds down that he may have greater cause to become more twitchy.

Apart from the unusually long layoffs many of the Springbok stars have had ahead of this match, men like Frans Steyn, especially, and Butch James have had little exposure to the fluidity of southern hemisphere rugby in recent seasons, coming out of the more grinding landscape of the European game.

And getting full matches out of certain others – Heinrich Brüssow and Fourie du Preez have not started Tests for the Boks in something approaching two years, for instance - may be considered a bonus.

Brüssow, the nippy fetcher, said on Thursday in reference to his short comeback stint off the Cheetahs bench against Western Province last weekend: “That was a great start for me; 20 minutes.

“I wasn’t that fit yet - we did a lot of rehabilitation overseas (Brüssow accompanied the weakened side for the away leg of the Tri-Nations but didn’t see action).

“Coach is giving me a start this weekend so hopefully I can play for about 60 to 80 minutes.”

Smart money suggests an hour is the likelier scenario, even if the Boks don’t have specialist open-side back-up on Saturday’s bench: it could be just the cue for Bismarck du Plessis to be introduced to the fray, even if the substitute hooker would almost certainly slot in at his preferred position.

Du Plessis is just as accomplished and committed as your average loose forward, after all, for effecting turnovers.

The other two starting Bok loose forwards, Pierre Spies and Danie Rossouw, were big fitness doubts earlier in the week - Rossouw after a gastroenteritis issue which may test his stamina late in the game.

And stalwart centre Jean de Villiers could also be said to be feeling his way back on Saturday: he confessed at the press conference that he “struggled a lot during Super Rugby” with his persistent groin injury.

“I feel I can get through 80; see how it goes.”

That “eighty” word again ... expect a pretty strong and versatile Bok bench to be asked to stay particularly smartly primed for possible intervention during much of Saturday’s clash.


  • BiggestBull - 2011-08-11 19:14

    Pierre Spies, naturally.

      Ken J May - 2011-08-11 19:35

      What was the question?

      DORINGDRAAD - 2011-08-11 20:15

      Bull het die vraag verkeerd verstaan, hy dink in terme van Spies wat hom vir 80 minute lank afstof....

      Rob Rabbit - 2011-08-11 21:18

      Spies a passenger even when he is fit.

      Hendrik - 2011-08-12 08:01


      smallies - 2011-08-12 08:57

      hoe nou wil jy vir 80 min met spies speel,jou ou pienk loerie wenner jy?

      jk - 2011-08-12 11:17

      spies- balerina/netball player...

      Rick - 2011-08-12 12:09

      @Biggest Bull - Of course he can last 80 minutes, because he basically does F@CK all on the field and he doesn't contribute to the team. So I agree with you, he will last 80 minutes easily.

      ikey_tiger - 2011-08-12 12:56

      Biggest Bull wil net vir Spies in die bedkamer vir 80 minute he.. hy het die vraag misverstaan. hy raak heel deurmekaar as hy van sy droom-man hoor.

      yagyah rabin - 2011-08-12 16:07

      Spies is a passenger on the Titanic its all going down

  • darkwing - 2011-08-11 19:24

    Oh dear, hope we don't have a sh*t performance on the day.

  • Babba x - 2011-08-11 19:26

    none of them

  • Bulldozer - 2011-08-11 19:27

    John Smit

      GraemeBB - 2011-08-11 23:41


      Makutu - 2011-08-12 10:01


      o Great one - 2011-08-12 10:13

      HA HA HA HA HA U KILL ME THE OLD FATTIE NEVER non of tinkerbells fairies can do a full 80 min ON THE FIELD

  • - 2011-08-11 19:45

    Press conference clanger: Divvy said 'they play 40 mins in the first half, 40 in second so they must play 60 minutes of rugby' !!

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-08-11 20:07

    I hope John Smit is in the thick of things and scores a try on Saturday. Show all is doubters what he is made of

      gatvol4corru - 2011-08-11 22:43

      jip,history to repeat itself. Will miss tackles and cost us tries,again..

      Marshall - 2011-08-12 01:15

      Barry, the thing is we need players to be more consistent. John included. Recent form certainly plays a role too. Nobody denies John is a good leader, but he has not been up to scratch as a player for quite some time now. I think almost every single Bok fan would love to see John hit a golden patch with regard to form, but how much longer does he need? I hope his confidence returns playing alongside his long serving team-mates. However, it will take more than one good performance to re-install the "doubters" faith in him, but I am sure they will take solace in the fact he would at least be displaying signs of improvement. (holding his tackles would be a good start). Looking forward to see how this game pans out. The Boks need to show vast signs of improvement over the next two weeks to get the confidence momentum train rolling onward. Go Bokke!

      Mojojo - 2011-08-12 14:07

      Yes he will, he will have 70 minutes of terrible rugby (if he stays on that long) and cost us at least 2 tries, but will score 1 try. In truth, if he scored that try, then any one of our TOP 3 hookers could have, but they would not have missed as many tackles, and would have saved us a few tries as well.

  • Benniten - 2011-08-11 20:33

    According to Div, Boks only need to go full 60!

      Skarel - 2011-08-11 21:03

      With Butch the new kicking pivot, I hope he goes the full Monty.

  • Netherlands - 2011-08-11 21:53

    815 CAPS!!!!! One of the most CAPPED TEAMS EVER!!! I only hope they are allowing a couple of OXYGEN CYLINDERS on the side of the field, and the Medical Team can run with one of them...jirre Bru...80 minutes is a long time...

  • BokSharky - 2011-08-11 23:07

    I always said Bismark should play at 6 or 8 pity we never tried him out there for the SHARKS first maybe uncle Peter has something up his sleeve

  • Makutu - 2011-08-12 09:34

    Certainly not John Smit!

  • Lance - 2011-08-12 09:42

    Beating the Aussies with skill will be tricky...physically dominating them is a possibility which will squeeze out a win. Lets hope for somre pretty play from th Boks in 2012. Fo now lets see them do what they do best...Front up physically.

  • ozzymate - 2011-08-12 09:49

    before half time in every game boks played ova 4 yrs you see some boks standing bent over, hands on knees & out of breath. 80 minutes ? I dont think so. its a big ask for any bok.they just cannot play for full 80 minutes & if losing at half time the boks go for dirty play tactics. its just their nature. unfit & unsportsman.our reds players will be way too quick for them to keep up for 80 minutes.

  • Maori - 2011-08-12 10:29

    The ones in the Kruger National Park!

  • Mojojo - 2011-08-12 14:00

    Well, we all know that General Geriatric (Formerly known as Captain Courageous) cannot. We would be fooling ourselves if we think he can even go 40 minutes at full tilt. Oh, but never fear, we can play with 14 and a half men as long as we have a good leader, while all the other teams are playing with 15 men and a good leader.

  • FJ2 - 2011-08-12 14:24

    Rob Houwing seems to have diarrhea of the mouth coupled with constipation of ideas

  • Ozman - 2011-08-12 14:54


  • - 2011-08-13 02:06

    For some free rugby music , ideal for this match , check out Waltzing the Football . It's a free download off my site - . It's an up-tempo version with good musicians and it swings along. You don't need to be an Aussie to sing it. Also there is " Rugby - it makes me the man i am "....yes , it's silly. Had radio play in South Africa before. And my humorous version of the IRB song is there too. We need more rugby music to go with matches. All the best. Bob , in New Zealand .

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