Bok's centre crisis deepens

2010-11-02 23:04

Stephen Nell and Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg - Jean de Villiers' injured groin is still being treated, resulting in the Springboks' question surrounding the centre position becoming more difficult.

Adi Jacobs has only played one match as replacement since his return from a shoulder injury. This means the possibility of Bryan Habana or Zane Kirchner running out in the Bok number 13 jersey against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday can't be excluded.

Earlier in his career, Habana regularly played at outside centre for the Lions and also played there when the Boks lost against Ireland in Dublin in 2006.

This option can therefore be considered if the Bok management doubts Jacobs's match fitness and should De Villiers not recover from his groin injury.

If Habana and Kirchner are seriously considered for the midfield, it could again bring about a shuffle in the back trio.

Habana as Patrick Lambie's centre mate could mean that Kirchner is appointed to fullback, with Gio Aplon and Bjorn Basson as wings.

Should Kirchner wear the number 13 jersey, it could mean that Aplon plays fullback and Habana and Basson play wing.

Jacobs's only involvement after his return in the Currie Cup series for the Sharks was 32 minutes in a lost league game against the WP at Newlands.

Before this he last started on March 27 in a Super 14 game against the Hurricanes in Wellington. He was then replaced by Waylon Murray in the 11th minute after he was injured.

It would therefore be wishful thinking to imagine that the 30-year-old is close to match fit and the Bok coach, Peter de Villiers, now has to take a difficult decision about the composition of his midfield.

Wynand Olivier, Jaque Fourie and Juan de Jongh are out due to injury.

The only positive thing that the Boks can take from this situation, is that their starter team and plans for Ireland will remain secret for now.

The bigger the chaos is in the back, the more sense it makes for the Boks to depend elsewhere on established combinations.

It means that the Sharks front row of Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira could be pulled in along with the Blue Bulls lock pair of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield.

Bismarck is looking forward to wearing the Bok jersey again after regaining his confidence in the Currie Cup after an earlier injury.

"It is difficult to come directly back to Test rugby after you’ve been injured," said Bismarck.

"I had to first play a bit in the Currie Cup. John Plumtree (Sharks coach) helped me to win back a bit of confidence."

But he wanted to reveal nothing about the front row.

"Adriaan Strauss played good rugby in the Currie Cup and Chiliboy Ralepelle played well in the Tests when he replaced John Smit and later also in the Currie Cup for the Bulls."


  • Rob - 2010-11-02 23:15

    Is daar geen ander oorsese senter beskikbaar nie? Marius Joubert? Wat van Doppies op 12? En is Meyer Bosman so 'n swak opsie? Of nog beter kies die sharks se senterpaar. Ten minste ken hulle mekaar, maar asb tog nie AD nie.

  • Huh - 2010-11-02 23:24

    Klink my die WP ouens weet iets oor Snor se toekoms.Almal onttrek.Weet hul dalk die is sy laaste toer en wil nie hul kanse benadeel by die nuwe afrigter nie?Die Bokke gaan ten minste 3 games verloor wat geen Bok se reputasie goed sal doen nie.

  • mike - 2010-11-02 23:29

    Unless I'm mistaken Bosman, Murray and Terblanche all have there bok colours. So why not draft in one or 2 of them and use them for the Ireland game. You wont be giving away cheap caps and you'll have specialists to pick from. Seriously why is this so hard?

  • TheGreenMan - 2010-11-02 23:35

    Therein lies the rub! If there is reason to question Jacob's match fitness and the selectors are wary of putting him into the starting lineup as a result, then what on earth is he doing in the touring squad? There are many other names that could have been included that would be much better than Adi, Habana or Zane (especially) in the number 13 jersey. Just more proof that this management group are worse than useless as it does not take a rock-scientist to see what is so obvious!!!

  • Isi - 2010-11-02 23:48

    Kies vir Doppies la Grange. Beste senter in SA op die oomblik en hy is super sexy.

  • Koos - 2010-11-03 00:01

    How about he 2007 WC center combination, Steyn and De Villiers.

  • Piet - 2010-11-03 00:27

    Wat van die Sharks se senter Strauss , goeie aanval spel en beste verdediger in SA rugby op die oomblik

  • hein Cent - 2010-11-03 00:35

    Ons het 20 senters om te ontwikkel. Maak n plan.

  • zulu-blonde - 2010-11-03 00:43

    there are guys out there!!..Andries Strauss was apparently called up initially but is injured so that leaves, Doppies La grange, Waylon Murray, Robert Ebersohn, Meyer Bosman or even Stephan Dippenaar?? not a great situation but these guys are pretty good!

  • BRAZO - 2010-11-03 00:54

    Call up Stepan Terblance - he's a lot better than most of the tourists !

  • mike - 2010-11-03 01:31

    De Villiers was injured early against Samoa, the 2007 WC centres where actually F Steyn and Fourie... I do believe F Steyn should be moved back to centre with either Lambie or Zane at 15. Aplon not good enough under the high ball which still gets utilised allot up north.

  • FJO - 2010-11-03 01:39

    Adi Jacobs is no match for the Irish centres, they are going to cut through him like a knife! He is no match for any centres for that matter, he should not even wear a green and gold tracksuit!

  • Jake - 2010-11-03 02:00

    Open your eyes my friends and smell the racism. PdV will rather choose Errol Tobias before he will select a fit, good and willing white centre. I'll go to war with a centre like Andries Strauss, but the problem is he's white. Nepotism at its best.

  • Bobby - 2010-11-03 02:45

    Centers hunt in pairs, and require a strong understanding between themselves. So either pick sharks Straus (whose defense is brilliant) or go for the Lions center pairing who are running exceptional lines in attack. Is no need to play people out of position and who are not performing. The crisis lies in the minds of the selectors and coach, if they understood the game they would see there is more than enough talent around.

  • Tommygun - 2010-11-03 02:48

    Habana, Kirchner centres? They question Jacobs match fitness! Talk of fastracking Mapoe into the squad!!!!! No talk of actual performing centres Doppies,Bosman,Strauss or Murray if you want colour. If I wasn't convinced before I am now, the selectors and coaching staff combined don't have the IQ of a dried up dog turd. It is not that their fallback selections have ever proved the supporters wrong, just look at last year!!

  • Effie@ Koos - 2010-11-03 02:58

    Koos is jy nou bedonnerd in jou kop man! Hoekom nie sommer vir Mannetjies Roux en Joggie Jansen kies nie. Word wakker man

  • Effie@ Isi - 2010-11-03 02:59

    Isi, ek stamp vir jou binne in die p@eper my girl

  • Hahaha! - 2010-11-03 04:01

    Ireland sal met ten minste 15 teen die Bullbarians wen saterdag.K@K span,k@k afrigter,k@k kaptein en k@k keurders!Kirchner,Basson,Jacobs,Hougaard,M Steyn,Jantjies,Spies,Daniel,Stegman almal useless overrated spelers.GO IRELAND!Verloor Bokkies dat ou Snor en sy k@k keurders kan f...f!

  • springbok in nz - 2010-11-03 04:04

    lambie at 10 to get the back line firing, F. Steyn at 12 to break the first line of defence"which he always does" and then habana at outside centre to open up last line of defence and then offload to aplon to finish off. perfect backline, if only they can live up to it.

  • Kevin - 2010-11-03 04:18

    Adi to play after 30 minutes of game time. LOL that is what you call bad planning coach. There are centres in South Africa that are ready to play but are too white. Really Januarie, Kirhchener, Chili and Adi? Really is this our best players in these positions. I think not.

  • Roy - 2010-11-03 04:59

    I agree with you thegreenman ,we seem to have complete idiots running our rugby !

  • Chris - 2010-11-03 06:21

    Wat de hel karring hulle met Habana????????????????????? Hy behoort nie eens op die toer te wees nie. Verdomp...sit Andries Strauss op senter saam met Morne Steyn en sit vir Lambie op no 10. Dan kan Aplon en Basson die wings wees met Kirchner op fullback. Wat is nou so moeilik omtrent dit?????????DROP NET HABANA ASB. Hy jaag net k*k aan, maar hy word aanhoudend gekies !!!!!!!!

  • Justin - 2010-11-03 06:30

    @ Kobus, just to correct you the RWC '07 Centre pairing was Steyn & Fourie, De viliiers was injured. but I agree, that Steyn & De Villiers should be the pairing. Lambie had a GREAT season, but it's no need to throw him into the deep end, especially against the Irish. GOOOOOO BOKKKKKE!!!!!!!!

  • Angus - 2010-11-03 06:56

    Strauss is the obvious choice, especially for the UK's slower fields which favour a stronger centre. Adi is going to be exposed terribly if he plays. Alternatively why not play Lambie and Steyn, they may lack extreme pace but their strength and skills will make up for that.Basson is an excelllent wing and Habana knows the conditions. Aplon is to light and weak to work well so it would have to be Kirchner at the back with Mvovo given a run if Habana is still in his slump

  • chris - 2010-11-03 07:06

    where s Stefan or Andries from the sharks

  • selector - 2010-11-03 07:18

    Well if Div did all suggested there would not be a comments column. He is so bad he cannot see the players who can and those who can t . Also are they injured or just out of the team for other reasons ,which on paper should get overrun. Quick fix coach from the Lions needs a call up.

  • Laeveld Springbok - 2010-11-03 07:28

    Imagine this... 9.Hougaard 10.M Steyn 11.Basson 12.Lambie 13.Habana 14.Aplon 15.Kirchner (don't really have a choice there). That is a backline that I would watch with great interest. Lambie/Habana combo in the midfield with two exeptional finishers on wing. If they run out like that on Sat I think we'll have a much better chance to take the irish

  • Richard - 2010-11-03 07:32

    Waylon Murray and Doppies Le Grange would make a perfect centre pair, but no they play for that team that comes out of Johannesburg.Their is a dozen players better than AD Jacobs ,is he the new Earl Rose in de Villiers eyesor is it the he plays for the Sharks and Mac Donald is a selector

  • @Koos - 2010-11-03 07:32

    Steyn is unavailable for the Ireland game and de Villiers may be injured. Can't count on him being fit so they'll have to cobble something together. Can't believe they might be bringing Mapoe in. Why bring in a wing when we so desperately need a centre???

  • Steevo - 2010-11-03 07:32

    Gee vr Habana n kans! Hy was goed op buitesenter op sy dag, hy is nou net groter en sterker, so dalk is hy nog beter! Frans Steyn/Lambie binne!

  • Blue Bulls - 2010-11-03 07:34

    Love this joke of a Country! First we pick the fattest scrumhalf in the world, thankfully he pulled a stomach muscle when he ate another wacky wednesday, and the we pick AD for center seeing he only played about 11 min of rugby his whole life and finally lets not gorget now we fast track Mapoe because there is not enough wings in the squad already - clearly Pdivs game plan is to have from 9 -15 wings. The bok starting backline i think 15. Aplon 14. Mlovo 13.Watermeyer (Frans Steyn, after ireland) 12.Straus 11.Basson 10.Steyn 9. Hougard and then on the bench Lambie (Fullback/centre/flyhalf) pienaar and habanna. Picked watermeyer at centre because he is a strong runner, good defence and very attacking and Meyer Bosman has not proven anything when he was given the chance with the bok jersey. but snorres team 9.Hougard (wing for Bulls) 10. Adrian Jacobs (wing/centre sharks) 11. Basson (wing Griquas) 12.Mapoe (wing- No team) 13. Habbanna (wing WP) 14. Mlovo (wing Sharks) 15. Aplon (wing WP)

  • ANDRO - 2010-11-03 07:35

    Van al die senters in Suid-Afrika moes hulle vir flippen Ady Jacobs kies. Nee man hy is nie eens op form nie. Ek sal vir Steyn en Lambie saam senter paar maak. Ek stem nie regtig saam met van die mense wat se sit vir Doppies op binnesenter nie. Hy is 'n goeie senter ja maar op springbok vlak is dit heeltemal anders. Wat van Strauss van die Sharks hy is solid op defence? Enige comments van julle?

  • zakkie - 2010-11-03 07:37

    Why is the quota system in rugby so important, up to the point where you will jeopardize the strength of your team just to keep the color to the requirement of SARU…or should we say the ANC. Use white players that is more then competent to perform in their respective positions, guys like Stefan Terblanche, Doppies le Grange, Strauss, Waylen Murray & Meyer Bosman…..just to name a few!!.

  • Gideon - 2010-11-03 07:46

    @ Koos.Wakey-wakey ouboet.Steyn is eers beskikbaar vir die 2de toets,want sy klub laat hom eers dan gaan.Jean sukkel met 'n groin-besering en kanse is taamlik goed dat hy nie gaan speel nie.Dis absoluut belaglik om net 2 senters te kies vir so 'n toer.Snorre se kop los hom nou heeltemal.Dit klink dalk lelik,maar diep binne my wens ek skielik dat ons pak slae kry teen al 4 spanne sodat ons die nuwe seisoen met 'n oordentlike coach kan begin.

  • Louis - 2010-11-03 07:47

    Doppies La Grange and Andries Strauss stop playing players out of position. O'Driscall is going to kill us in the midfield.

  • JC - 2010-11-03 07:48

    Francois Steyn at centre! Send Adi home pls, he shouldn't be there in the first place

  • jannie - 2010-11-03 07:52

    Frans Steyn op senter asb.

  • AntiDiv - 2010-11-03 07:57

    Go Div, you big doos....this will be the end of you! you and your management are useless!!! Play players out of position and see Ireland slaughter us...then what? panic stations and bring in Meyer Bosman, Strausss,Doppies, Marius Joubert who are specialist centres BUT it will be too late. The "ALL BROWNS' are going to lose!

  • hasie - 2010-11-03 07:58

    Wat is die kopseer? As hy van die begin af vir Andries Strauss gekies het en dan kan hy Meyer Bosman saam met hom laat speel

  • Chris - 2010-11-03 08:01

    Lyk my Stephan en Pieter beweeg baie na aan Dick Muir. Of hulle het "inside info" of weet hoe sy kop werk om spelers uit posisies te speel. Asseblief en groooot asseblief, kies spesialis spelers in hul posisies as dit by die Springbokke kom. Los die proefnemings vir die laer spanne en minder belangrike wedstryde. Ons het nie 'n senterkrisis nie. Wat van die ouens wat hulle hierdie seisoen oor en oor bewys het soos Murray, Bosman, Strauss, Le Grange en les bes Terblanche. Almal ervare manne wat weet hoe.

  • IZ IT - 2010-11-03 08:01


  • Snorre - 2010-11-03 08:04

    Spies en Kanko op senter.

  • Jay Jay - 2010-11-03 08:08

    The crisis at centre is caused by the selectors and team management who do not pick the form centres to replace the injured ones. Of course you create a crisis by selecting players who have not played for six and seven months or select wings and fullbacks to play at centre. There is also a crisis at scrumhalf - Ruan Pienaar has hardly played this year - why not Jano Vermaak?

  • Jim - 2010-11-03 08:10

    What happened to you bragging S A's about your massive depth of talent, all of a sudden they have disappeared.This tour is going to get pleasantly UGLY

  • SONNYG - 2010-11-03 08:13

    Coaches have lost the plot. Dont play a specialist 13 at your Peril. 13 is one of the toughest channels to defend in. Irish backs to run rings around the boks!!

  • wayne - 2010-11-03 08:13

    why not try Ruan at Centre? is has played every where else hahahaha Frans Steyn will only join the Boks on sunday, so he misses the match against Ireland. I think they should fly another centre up, like Strauss/Murray/Jaco Pretorious/Bosman/Le Grange/Watermeyer/De Wet Barry... lots to choose from!

  • Chilly - 2010-11-03 08:14

    Meyer Bosman! He had an excellent season!

  • john - 2010-11-03 08:19

    Jacobs is a joke, he is second rate, unfit and frankly hopeless. What does this tell you about Devilliers and co, hope less. this smaks of ouota's, pick a player of colour rather than one who can play. We got no chance with this policy. Complete joke, same as picking Januari unbelievable, thank goodness he is not going on tour.

  • j - 2010-11-03 08:28

    O'driscoll can't wait to face the bok centres.......he is going to hit gaps that are the size of the n1....big difference between centre and wing!!

  • Kosie - 2010-11-03 08:33

    I really should rhink that by now, SA rugby supporters would have faced up to certain truths about their beloved sport Truth is that merit play no active role in team selection and is only paid lip-service to to appease some of the public., the only thing that really matters is transformation, AA, quota players or whatever the heck they want to call it. If anyone want to differ, please feel free to do so, but also please explain what is Habana, Kirchner, Rallepele, Jacobs et al doing in the team? Not to say anything about a certain January or a Mr Mapoe that is reportedly being fast tracked for the Springboks over and above other players that are definately more deserving than these players. Fact of the matter is unless dissatisfaction start to impact negatavily on ticket sales and or memorablia, nothing will change and SA rugby will remain the laughing stock of the world. Just beats me why nobody has ever laid a complaint about out and out racism in SA rugby with the IRB yet, or do we have to lose even more young talent to other countries where their talent are recognized and appreciated.