Brüssow lifeline on the cards

2013-06-13 16:30
Heinrich Brüssow (Gallo Images)
Hazyview - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer obviously changed his mind between last Monday over how he would use the first two Test matches of the Castle Incoming Tours Series, but Francois Louw’s wedding this weekend has at least ensured that the net will be spread wider in one crucial area.

Meyer said in Umhlanga Rocks on the first Monday of the tour that he would use the matches against Italy at Kings Park and Scotland at the Mbombela Stadium to give as many players in the squad as possible an opportunity to play.

Meyer denies it was the quality of the performance put in against Italy in Durban that prompted him to stick with mostly the same combinations this week.

But then he also did say that the team had played so well last week that he wanted them to get another chance to build on their previous performance.

Will Meyer call up the extra players for the last match in Pretoria on Saturday week?

"They want to wear the Springbok jersey in as many test matches as possible. At Test level, they don’t want to rest.

"And neither is it the stage where they should be rested. Selection is a difficult business.

And while Meyer is taking every opportunity to voice his respect for Scotland, in reality if the Boks can’t put away the team that lost to Samoa last weekend then South African rugby is way behind where it should be at this point.

At least though Louw’s absence on Saturday will avail Meyer of the opportunity to see what the back-up at No. 6 has to offer.

At the same time though, it would be naïve to ignore the fact that most teams do have specialists who, to coin another cliché, play to the ball, and last year’s final Test against England in Port Elizabeth, when the big ball carrying presence of Willem Alberts was absent, showed up the folly of not having one.

Coetzee gets another chance to wear the No. 6 at the weekend after being displaced by Louw during last season’s Rugby Championship, and Meyer is hoping that he will show that he can make a strong fist of the role of being the premier ball scavenger, a role that becomes even more important in the absence of Duane Vermeulen.

"I’m not yet convinced that Marcell can play that role at the breakdown.

“I want to build a big squad of 35 players to take forward to the 2015 World Cup and this is a big opportunity for players like Marcell and Siya Kolisi (who is on the bench on Saturday).

"They have to show me that they can specialise in that role.

"I will have to consider other options.

That last comment will please many, and if it is an indication that Meyer is flexible enough to change his views that is a positive, but it is a contradiction of his line from last year.

Back then he said that Brüssow was too limited in the sense that he doesn’t offer strong ball carrying abilities and physicality in defence.

In other words, it’s a size issue.


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