Esterhuizen, De Allende offer 'similar' Bok options

2018-06-22 12:26
Andre Esterhuizen (Gallo)

Cape Town - Damian de Allende has given two solid Springbok performances against England, but on Saturday in Cape Town it will be the turn of Andre Esterhuizen to show what he can do in the No 12 channel. 

It all forms part of Rassie Erasmus' rotation policy in his attempts to ready the Boks for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, and while De Allende has not done anything wrong to warrant losing his place, the Bok coach is using this as an opportunity to see how other players perform in high-pressure situations. 

The Boks are, after all, 2-0 up in the series. 

De Allende battled with both injury and a lack of form throughout the Allister Coetzee era in 2016 and 2017, but he has been back to something resembling his best for the Stormers in Super Rugby this year. 

In both the first Test against England in Johannesburg and the second in Bloemfontein, De Allende ran hard, straight lines to get the Boks on the front foot and lay the base for attacks.

He is not the flashiest player in the world, but that is not what is needed from a Springbok No 12 under Erasmus. 

Given what we have seen so far, Erasmus wants his inside centres to take balls at pace and to bash through the defensive line, quickly recycling to set up the next phase. 

In Esterhuizen, Erasmus has a player who fits that mould. 

The 24-year-old, who made his Bok debut in the 22-20 loss to Wales in Washington at the start of the month, has been in impressive touch for the Sharks for one-and-a-half Super Rugby seasons now. 

The calls for his Springbok inclusion actually began last year when Coetzee was in charge, but now he has that opportunity under a different coach. 

According to Erasmus, Esterhuizen and De Allende share a lot in common when it comes to the way they play the game.

"Him (Esterhuizen) and Damian are very similar types of players," Erasmus explained.

"Andre can kick with his left boot a little bit better and he is about 10kg heavier than Damian, but they are similar types of players in doing some grunt, being direct and bringing momentum to the game.

"They do have subtle differences in terms of offloads and things like that ... Damian tends to take the outside gap a bit more.

"I think Andre brings something else to the party, but we are privileged to have two players like that."

Erasmus added that he was still looking at Montpellier-based Jan Serfontein as a possible option at inside centre, but the 35-Test Bok is still sidelined with a rare thigh injury. 

Frans Steyn, meanwhile, is another who could come into consideration at No 12.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.


South Africa

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S'bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux


15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler

Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Ben Spencer, 23 Denny Solomona


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