Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has
explained his decision to select four scrumhalves
for the upcoming Rugby Championship.
There were few, if any, surprised
in Erasmus' 35-man squad ahead of next weekend's tournament-opener against
Argentina in Durban, but the fact that he is going in with so many No 9s is
Faf de Klerk, Ivan
van Zyl and Embrose Papier all
retain their places from the June Internationals against England, but Erasmus
has also called up Lions halfback Ross
Cronje for another crack at Springbok level.
Cronje was Allister Coetzee's
first-choice scrumhalf throughout 2017, but he was not in the mix when Erasmus
took over and steered the side to a 2-1 series win over the English.
Having guided the Lions to what
was their third Super Rugby final in a row, though, Cronje has now caught the
attention of the national coach.
He certainly doesn't have the
speed or flair of De Klerk, who is comfortably the Boks' first-choice, but he
has a trusted box kick, makes his tackles and does the basics as well as
"I think the three levels of
No 9s we have in the mix is great, but you can't keep ignoring a No 9 who takes
a team to Super Rugby finals," Erasmus said in explaining his decision to
call up Cronje.
"I've never coached and
worked with Ross and I think it's just fair to have a look at him.
"Maybe he'll come into the
mix or maybe in two or three weeks he will be released ... we just want to get
some eyes on him."
While De Klerk is comfortably
ahead at this stage of the race for the No 9 jersey at next year's World Cup in
Japan, Erasmus believes that in Papier and Van Zyl he has a couple of quality
"We know where we're going
with Embrose. He is a guy that is learning something every minute from
Faf," said Erasmus.
"Ivan is that in-between one
where he is a solid guy to start with. He understands the game and is a very
With Erasmus having spoken of his
desire to rotate players during the Rugby Championship, there is every chance
that all four scrumhalves will be given a crack over the course of the