Cape Town - In Willem Alberts, the Springboks are set to field a specialist No 7 for the first time this season when they take on Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
They have only played four matches (including the friendly against the World XV), but in all of those the Boks have started with two flanks better known for their fetching skills than their ball carrying.
Marcell Coetzee has started three of those matches at blindside and Francois Louw one, but in Alberts Heyneke Meyer has an out-and-out ball carrier at his disposal for the first time this year.
It is something the coach has said will be important against the northern hemisphere sides and with northern hemisphere referees, when the expansive play associated with Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship is not always possible.
Alberts does have the proven ability to be an effective battering ram, and he is desperate to get going despite Meyer saying this week that he is likely to play “30 to 40 minutes” against the Pumas on Saturday.
“Obviously it’s been a while since I played a Test. This year was a bit of a frustrating year with a couple of injury niggles but I had some good time off and time to work hard and I’m looking forward to playing this weekend,” Alberts said.
“Normally the blindside flanker is the ball-carrier. It’s something that I like to do and also it’s just part of my job.
“I just try to get the ball in my hand and also on defence just make sure that I slot into the defensive structures and make my one-on-one tackles and do my part to help the team.”
Alberts said that he had felt like every other Bok supporter watching the Rugby Championship.
“The first games I was feeling the same as every other supporter and I felt we could have won those. The last game I felt a bit frustrated like everybody else but as a player I knew that the guys worked hard every time,” he said.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 21:40 (SA time).
Substitutes: 16-Julian Montoya, 17-Lucas Noguera, 18-Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19-Matias Alemanno, 20-Pablo Matera, 21-Tomas Cubelli, 22-Juan Pablo Socino, 23-Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20, Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Jan Serfontein