Springboks

5 Bok squad posers for under-pressure Coetzee

2017-05-23 07:00
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Under-pressure South Africa coach Allister Coetzee will name his first squad of the year on Tuesday at 13:00 for the three-Test home series against France in June.

The 53-year-old had a calamitous first season in charge with eight losses in 12 Tests, an unwanted calendar year record for the two-time world champions.

Although Coetzee has a four-year contract up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, there has been speculation that a series loss to France would trigger his sacking.

A look at five issues facing Coetzee ahead of his squad announcement for Tests in Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg between June 10 and 24:

OVERSEAS PLAYERS

Sections of the media have hinted at recalls for a number of experienced players discarded after a third-place finish at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

These include the Du Plessis brothers, hooker Bismarck and tighthead prop Jannie, No 8 Duane Vermeulen and winger Bryan Habana, all based in France.

Others linked to possible call-ups are winger JP Pietersen, centre Francois Steyn and winger-cum-scrumhalf Francois Hougaard.

VETERANS

A bad habit of numerous Springbok coaches has been choosing players well past their prime with the justification being that they provide experience.

Johannesburg daily The Star has questioned the wisdom of considering 33-year-old Bismarck du Plessis, once rated the best hooker in the world.

Picking him would be looking after the present, argued the newspaper, when the emphasis should be on the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

FLYHALF

A major cause of the disastrous 2016 campaign was the poor form of flyhalf Elton Jantjies, both in general play and as a goal-kicker.

No one could initially fault Coetzee for choosing the 26-year-old as he had an outstanding Super Rugby season, only to flop at Test level.

But injuries to Handre Pollard and Patrick Lambie and sending 2017 Super Rugby star Curwin Bosch to the U-20 World Cup mean Jantjies is set to face France.

SCRUMHALF

Faf de Klerk has lost the form that made him a regular starter last season and no South African Super Rugby scrumhalf has stood out.

Uncapped Ross Cronje, who succeeded De Klerk during this season as first choice at Golden Lions, has been the pick of a steady rather than spectacular group.

England-based Hougaard boasts experience and form if Coetzee looks abroad while other locals in contention include Rudy Paige and Shaun Venter.

CAPTAINCY

While Coetzee deserved most of the media criticism he received last season, then skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss proved an equally poor leader.

Many pundits questioned why the now retired Test captain was in the team, never mind captaining it.

Who succeeds him could come down to a choice between two No 8s - Vermeulen of Toulon and consistently successful Golden Lions skipper Warren Whiteley.

Read more on:    springboks  |  allister coetzee  |  rugby
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