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Boks: Mitchell backs Paige pick

2015-09-04 10:55
Rudy Paige (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – Too much fuss has been made about the selection of Rudy Paige as one of three scrumhalves in the Springbok RWC 2015 rugby squad, according to John Mitchell.

The former All Blacks and Golden Lions coach told SuperSport’s Boots & All show on Thursday that he felt Paige, a Bulls team-mate of young Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard, was capable of bringing out the best in the pivot.

Paige, the hitherto uncapped 26-year-old from Riversdale in the Southern Cape, was a surprise selection in the World Cup squad to accompany much more established No 9s Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar.

It caused ructions among the pro-Cobus Reinach lobby, after the Sharks whippet had been part of the Bok mix in the lead-up period and previously, and was then a notable omission from the 31-strong party.

“Squad selections become so emotional at this time,” Mitchell said. “You can’t fit everyone in – it’s as simple as that. Each coach comes up with a strategy that is right for him, and it’s a well-constructed squad by Heyneke (Meyer).

“A lot of people don’t understand why Paige is there. I think he’s there because ... if you look at Pollard’s Super Rugby form, when Francois Hougaard and Piet van Zyl were on his inside, it (was different).

“When Paige was paired with him, that’s the only time you saw Pollard flat and running at the advantage line; Paige does have a quick service and he also has a good kick.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

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