Johannesburg - Willie le Roux has his chance to playing himself into Heyneke Meyer’s Rugby World Cup plans as a player who can provide the X-factor that was missing from the Springboks for much of last season but which is sometimes needed to break a close game apart.
According to the supersport.com website, although he makes his debut for the Boks as a fullback against Italy on Saturday, his long term future might well be as an impact sub that will provide thrust from the bench later on in the big matches.
The bench is becoming an increasingly more important factor in the game, and it is something Meyer, who perfected the art of timing his substitutions at the Bulls, will want to work on with the Boks now that other aspects of the team are starting to become more settled.
Bryan Habana, Jaco van der Westhuyzen and the late Etienne Botha were examples of that, and Le Roux could be added to that list if he makes a full fist of his opportunity on Saturday.
Meyer has always been a processes, long-term plan type of coach, and he has always said that his game will develop as the team plays together more.
Meyer is confident that the forwards can provide the platform that will help ease the backline players into it in their first outing in the green and gold jerseys.
However, Meyer agrees that the backline is the area where the most experimentation is needed as he is not sure how many of the experienced Boks are still going to be available or at the top of their game when the World Cup arrives in 2015.
And while Frans Steyn is still young and boasts a lot of talent, his injuries are starting to become a problem and are introducing doubts about his potential to be a long-term option for the Boks.
“We only have 28 Test matches at this point until the start of the World Cup so we need to start building experience. At a World Cup it is crucial that the bulk of your squad boasts considerable international experience,” he said.