Rugby Championship

Coetzee baffles with Marx axing

2016-09-27 12:18
Malcolm Marx (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Another week, another baffling selection by Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.

Coetzee sprung a major surprise when he announced on Monday that Lions hooker Malcolm Marx would be released from the Springbok camp preparing to face the Wallabies on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.

Instead, Marx will line up for the Golden Lions in their Currie Cup clash against the Sharks on Friday night.

So, why axe Marx after 37 minutes of action against the All Blacks?

Who knows!

Sure, Marx didn't have the best debut in terms of finding his jumpers at lineout time when he replaced skipper Adriaan Strauss early in the second half of the Boks' embarrassing 41-13 defeat in Christchurch.

But lay an equal amount of blame at the hands of locks Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Franco Mostert who not only would've called the lineouts, but have infinitely more international experience than Marx.

If every Springbok who failed to fire that night in Christchurch was axed, well, we'd struggle to field a 23-man team this Saturday!

Coetzee is on record as saying: "He's (Marx) played against all the New Zealand franchises and he has dominated his opposition in all the games he’s played" although Coetzee may well have forgotten about the two maulings the Lions suffered against the Hurricanes (50-17 and 20-3) and the home defeat against the Crusaders (43-37) in his assessment of Marx.

If Marx earned his way into Coetzee's squad through a series of standout performances in this year's Super Rugby tournament, how exactly will he benefit from playing in the significantly less-pressurised Currie Cup environment?

One thing is for sure, if Marx was an All Black, it's hard, no, impossible, to believe he'd have been ditched after 37 minutes.

Current All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett has struggled off the kicking tee during the Rugby Championship, but his woes at poles are outweighed by the contribution he's made in general play - much like Marx.

Coetzee named Stormers rake Bongi Mbonambi on the bench for the first six Tests of his tenure of national coach - the three-Test series against Ireland the opening three Rugby Championship matches against Argentina (home and away) and Australia.

In total, Coetzee trusted Mbonambi with NINE minutes of action.

That was enough to drop the 25-year-old Mbonambi for the All Blacks Test in favour of Marx.

Now Mbonambi is back in the Test frame, a certainty to warm the bench in Pretoria this weekend.

One can only wonder whether someone at the Department of Sport and Recreation didn't have a little word in Coetzee's ear and remind him of the fact that come the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Tokyo the Springbok squad needs to be 50/50 in terms of players of colour and white.

The Springboks' final match under Heyneke Meyer - the third/fourth playoff at the 2015 Rugby World Cup had five players of colour in the match-day 23.

The number of players of colour nearly 12 months later against the All Blacks in Christchurch?


Who would you like to see as the starting hooker - and back-up - for the Springboks? Let us know at


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