Cape Town - Former Wales centre Tom Shanklin believes the Springboks are more formidable when Handre Pollard starts at flyhalf.
Elton Jantjies occupied the Springbok No 10 jersey for most of the 2017 season, before Pollard was given a run in the last two Tests against France and Italy - games the Boks won 18-17 and 35-6 in Paris and Padova respectively.
Shanklin, who played 70 Tests for Wales between 2001 and 2010, spoke exclusively to Sport24 ahead of his former side’s clash with the Boks in Cardiff this weekend.
Shanklin acknowledged that the Boks aren’t the team they once were, but said all hope was not lost.
“There is plenty of talent in that team, but it just doesn’t seem to be clicking for one reason or another. South Africa seem to shine in patches, but are not gelling on a consistent basis. I don’t think they are as bad a team as some people make out - they still possess some amazing players. I have been impressed with the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Duane Vermeulen and Jesse Kriel,” Shanklin said.
Since Pollard took over at flyhalf, the Boks have been better, according tom Shanklin.
“It was obviously disappointing for the Springboks to start off their end-of-year tour by losing to Ireland in the manner in which they did (38-3). However, on the evidence of last week’s Test in Padova, the Boks went back to basics against Italy and avenged last season’s nightmare in Florence. They were strong up front, carried well and I personally believe the Springboks are a stronger team with Handre Pollard at flyhalf," Shanklin said.
"I think he’s a better player (than Elton Jantjies) and is more suited to the style of play the Boks employ. The fact of the matter is that it’s much easier to base your game plan around someone that is consistent in the No 10 position. Moreover, Pollard is big and strong and, when you have a running threat like him, he is able to ride the tackles well and gets his shoulders through the hit.”
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Hallam Amos, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Cory Hill, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rob Evans
Substitutes: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18. Rhodri Jones, 19 Seb Davies, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Owen Watkin
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Warrick Gelant, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Oupa Mohoje 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Lukhanyo Am