Heyneke Meyer, you little beauty! The team
announced on Wednesday to take on Argentina at Loftus on Saturday is an
And no, it is not only the departure of
poor old Coenie Oosthuizen as the back-up tighthead prop that excites me.
are plenty of clever selections, starting with keeping Handre Pollard at flyhalf,
benching Eben Etzebeth rather than starting him, and keeping returning skipper
Jean de Villiers at 12, but yes, those six men making up the front row for
Saturday look so much more balanced.
Gone are Oosthuizen, who was being asked to
play in a position he cannot do justice to at Super Rugby level, and Gurthro
Steenkamp, a journeyman plying his trade overseas. In come Trevor Nyakane as
back-up to Beast, and Frans Malherbe as back-up to Jannie. No convoluted
reasoning, just a simple and clear path for two young specialist props making
their way in international rugby. It seems so simple and obvious.
Pollard is the future of South African
rugby – of that I have no doubt. This is a brave call from Meyer, and one that
I hope speaks to the kind of game the Boks hope to one day play more regularly
– one that relies less on chasing box kicks, and more one using the width of
the field with ball in hand.
Scrumhalf was always going to be a tricky selection
given the non-availability of Fourie du Preez, and one cannot really fault
sticking with next in line Ruan Pienaar, despite his inability to carry his
form in Ireland into the Bok environment. There is a school of thought that
this would have been an ideal opportunity (against the Pumas rather than the
All Blacks or Aussies) to blood young Cobus Reinach, and that does make sense.
But that would have been a massive call from a coach already pushing his naturally
It must have been really tempting end the
Juan Smith Cinderella story with a trip to the ball, but he has just arrived in
SA and not been part of the Bok mix for a while. Willem Alberts does need a
good game though, and perhaps the pressure from Smith will ignite the bone collector’s
fuse. With Bakkies Botha, Lood de Jager and Etzebeth in the engine room, Meyer
could well look at a more rangy 7 that links instead of bashes, a role for
which Smith is purpose built.
But with those 4 chunks of Baobab in the
pack, together with Bismarck du Plessis and Duane Vermeulen, who needs rangy
link men? Expect the blunt force trauma approach to continue!
In closing the, a quick comment on Jurie
Roux’s reappointment as CEO of SARU, which happened on Wednesday via a
unanimous vote from all 14 member unions that make up the SARU General Council.
The very same General Council that forced Roux to demand a sixth team
in Super Rugby because they could not agree on any other way to accommodate the
Kings. The point being that they do not often all agree with each other.
Yet they were unanimous on this. And this
despite allegations of fraud relating to activities at Stellenbosch University
during the time of Roux’s employment there. In fact, SARU president Oregan
Hoskins went as far as to renege on a confidentiality agreement with Maties in
order to show Roux a forensic report which implicated him in the alleged fraud.
This to allow his CEO to explain the allegations, and facilitate an informed
discussion at SARU's executive committee.
And based on that discussion, SARU were
happy to reappoint Roux, who has been a quite outstanding CEO of SARU since his
appointment in 2000.
I have spoken at length to Roux about what
went on at Maties while he was running the show, and as a solid human being who
seeks out only what is best for South African rugby (within some particularly outrageous
mandates from his General Council), I am choosing to believe his version of
Allegations abound in the press, yet still
there is no formal charge against Roux. I am finding the man innocent until
someone can prove otherwise.
Tank is a former Western Province tighthead prop who now heads up Tankman Media, and sprouts forth on all things rugby on the Front Row Grunt.
Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse
views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their
own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.