Naas: Boks covered at flyhalf

2011-07-05 22:00
Naas Botha (File)
Hendrik Cronjé

Bloemfontein - The two form flyhalves in this year's Super Rugby tournament will square off against each other in Saturday's final in Brisbane.

However, Naas Botha says that not one of Butch James, Patrick Lambie, Morné Steyn or Peter Grant - depending on which one wears the Springboks' No 10 jersey - will have to stand back for the Reds' Quade Cooper or the Crusaders' Dan Carter at the World Cup in September and October.

"The only thing the South African flyhalves struggled with this year as far as I'm concerned was their tactical kicking - and that will be important in New Zealand. It's especially the case because we will be playing evening games and the field will be wet," said Botha, who is a former Springbok captain and flyhalf.

"Butch's tactical kicking was probably the best of the lot in his last game for the Lions. Like Dan and Quade, he put the ball either in front of or behind the opponents. The other South African flyhalves kicked the ball into opponents' hands too often."

"One does not want to create situations at the World Cup where opponents constantly run at you. However, I believe we are privileged as far as flyhalves are concerned and that Lambie was our best in this year's tournament."

Botha believes that Cooper's unpredictability could spell danger for the Crusaders in the final.

"The Blues played to the wrong game plan against the Reds and gave Quade, who was outstanding, too much space on attack."

Botha believes that Cooper's unpredictability may end up coming off second best to Carter's consistent kicking.

"Carter is a lot like our flyhalves, who know how to dictate the game. He is a player that does really well when he's under pressure and his accurate goalkicking may have the final say in what is expected to be a tight game. Penalties (and accurate goalkicking) may end up determining the winner.

"I also question Quade’s kicking technique and whether he could be consistent with it."

Another former Bok flyhalf, Gaffie du Toit, also believes that Carter's boot may determine the outcome.

"If the final will be like Test rugby, I believe Carter's accurate boot will be decisive under pressure. For me it's a showdown between the flamboyant and unpredictable Cooper, and technically the best flyhalf in Carter," said Du Toit.

"South Africa have good flyhalves, but I don't believe one of them is on Cooper or Carter's level - and they lack unpredictability."

Botha does not expect home ground advantage to play a role.

"The Crusaders have not had any home advantage this year and showed at Newlands (against the Stormers) and at Twickenham (against the Sharks) what they are capable of.

"The Crusaders are simply a quality team - you don't get many of those teams."

The 23-year-old Cooper has represented the Wallabies in 24 Tests and scored 41 points.

It will only be the second time on Saturday that he and Carter are direct opponents in Brisbane.

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