Rugby Championship

Coetzee's selection headaches for Wallaby Test

2016-09-26 12:06
Allister Coetzee (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Usually when a coach goes into a match with 'selection headaches', it's a good thing. 

It means that he has a number of players performing well in a certain position, and the headache comes in the form of making a tough decision to leave somebody out who has been playing well. 

Against the Wallabies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, Coetzee will have no such headaches. 

Instead, his headache will come as he tries one more time to find players in key positions who can help turn this sinking ship around. 

The Boks have lost four of their seven matches under Coetzee and this home clash against the Wallabies provides the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways. 

But there are still a number of areas where players simply haven't come to the party, and this could be the time where the coach runs out of patience and makes a few changes. 


Jantjies v Lambie v Steyn v Goosen. A lot will depend on how Pat Lambie comes through in the early stages of the week. He has, remember, played just 20 minutes of competitive rugby in three-and-a-half months. If he looks fit and sharp, then he will come into the mix. The safe money, though, is on Coetzee going with the experience of Morne Steyn on Saturday. It is not ideal, and for many that would signify a step backwards, but right now the Boks are desperate for a win. This is all presuming that Coetzee has run out of patience with Elton Jantjies, which by all accounts he has. Johan Goosen is another option at 10, but he has not played there all season with Racing 92 in France. 

Morne Steyn (Gallo)


Faf de Klerk, like his Lions counterpart Elton Jantjies, has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism in recent weeks. And, like Jantjies, De Klerk's criticism has been largely justified. His kicking has been poor, his defensive positioning questionable while he has been slow in getting the ball away. Francois Hougaard could be next in line. He did a decent enough job on the left wing in Australasia, but he is a natural No 9 and now could be his time. Rudy Paige is also an option, but Coetzee hasn't shown much faith in him at all so far. 

Francois Hougaard (Gallo)


Which centre combination will Coetzee go for? Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe were the first choice before he moved on to Juan de Jongh and Jesse Kriel in Australasia. Right now, it's anybody's guess. Rohan Janse van Rensburg continues to impress but he is not in the squad, so whoever does crack the nod for Saturday will know that there are many players breathing down their necks. 

Damian de Allende (Gallo)


Willie le Roux's call-up to the squad has made things interesting. Is he being called on to allow Goosen to move to flyhalf or into the centres? Jesse Kriel is the other obvious option with most still feeling that No 15 is his best position. Goosen has had some inspiring moments running from the back, while his boot does make him an attractive option there. 

Willie le Roux (Gallo)


What is the Boks' best loose forward combination? In the continued absence of Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley takes care of the No 8 position. But what about No 6 and No 7? Should Francois Louw be backed again? Jaco Kriel, so impressive in Super Rugby, is still waiting for a start. At No 7 Oupa Mohoje now has Willem Alberts to contend with, though Mohoje probably has been one of the more consistent Bok performers. 

Francois Louw (Gallo)


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