Rossouw: Yes, he's best at lock

2011-08-16 18:30

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Although that near-forgotten concept -  a win - would be especially welcome on Saturday, the Springboks appear to be moving closer toward identifying the best positional slots for some of their more versatile forwards at the World Cup.

In a line-up changed fairly significantly for a variety of reasons to face the All Blacks in the Castle Tri-Nations Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, a standout feature is the makeup of the reserves - happily suggesting that stalwarts John Smit and Danie Rossouw, in particular, have finally been pigeon-holed correctly.

Neither makes the starting cut, after doing so against Australia in Durban, but this was an expected “rotational” move as they were among few of the team’s senior core to get full involvement on the away leg of the competition.

But the manner in which they are being deployed among the substitutes for the latest challenge strongly hints that Smit will not again be put through the relative indignity, as he focuses keenly on the requirements of hooker for RWC 2011, of being asked to assist in propping the scrum for the latter part of a game.

It bombed badly at Mr Price Kings Park, and it seems lessons have been learnt: with two props, Beast Mtawarira and CJ van der Linde, on the bench in a five-two split between forwards and backs, there is precious little chance that the veteran captain (though Victor Matfield takes temporary charge this weekend) will have to think about anything but the possibility that he replaces Bismarck du Plessis at No 2 at some point.

Just as wise, it seems, is the obvious signal that Rossouw will be the designated lock replacement against New Zealand, as Gerhard Mostert is withdrawn completely from the match-day 22. Expect Rossouw to get some game-time in the second row around the hour mark as his old Bulls ally Bakkies Botha takes a breather.

That is a tactic the Super Rugby franchise have successfully employed over the course of several seasons and there is no special reason to believe it will suddenly backfire at international level now.

Rossouw, for me, is first and foremost a Test-class lock, however useful the extra “loosie” string to his bow can be.

And with Andries Bekker ruled out of the World Cup, I believe the big man needs to be put in specialist lock mode with some urgency - he is easily the most suitable back-up to Botha and potentially even for Matfield’s No 5 shirt should the need arise.

I view Rossouw, ever the exemplary squad man, this way: comfortingly mobile and suitably rugged as a lock, yet perhaps not quite speedy or dynamic enough for the modern demands of loose forward on dry, firm fields.

The start Willem Alberts - another big, bruising No 7 - gets against New Zealand after recovering fully from injury gives the Sharks player an opportunity to confirm his own credentials for a berth among the Bok back row at the World Cup.

Alberts, a decent schoolboy all-rounder at cricket, arguably boasts superior hand skills to Rossouw, who can also be a bit upright at times as he goes into contact as a blindside flank.

And the Boks lose absolutely nothing in physicality and formidable leg drive, of course, with Alberts assuming that spot ...


  • Bobmac - 2011-08-16 18:12

    At last!! Danie Rossouw is not a loose forward.. It worked in 2007 when he was more mobile but please leave him on the bench to make an impact later on from lock!

      roboman1 - 2011-08-16 19:40

      "Alberts arguably boasts superior hand skills to Rossouw" Geez , there cannot be worse handling skills than Rossouw, so please, if alberts does not beat him "hands" down in the handling stakes then we in real trouble!"

      Real Deal - 2011-08-16 19:43

      I think Div and Malema came from the same college - these guys are clueless!

      Kevin - 2011-08-16 20:30

      To be brutally honest, Danie isn't a world class lock either. He's good, but not at the highest level, being Test Rugby. I rate Bekker could have been better if he were available to play.

      René Müller - 2011-08-16 22:05

      ZotBot, which planet are you from??? Jaque and Pierre were the two guys that actually had a good game! Anyway, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion even if it is drivel!

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-08-16 18:41

    Seems all good to me

  • Enough - 2011-08-16 18:48

    Smit`s best position is Waterboy.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-16 19:00

      Smit's best postion is hooker & Captain. Only we have Bismark who is hooker and ....definitely not captain. Otherwise there would be no problem.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-16 20:42

      Lots of thumbs down. But no one has got a solution. I have, Victor as Captain. Bismark as hooker and John as replacement in the second half.

      René Müller - 2011-08-16 22:26

      @Barry, I agree with you! Smit had a good game at no 2, it was when he moved to prop that things became sticky. He is also a great captain. But keep him at 2. We might as well accept this, because its not going to change! I

      Enough - 2011-08-16 23:17

      Barry, good suggestion, I can support/like that, think you can get it past PDiv ;).

      Karoobloed - 2011-08-17 00:23

      Victor as captain, Bismarck as hooker with Chilli on the bench. John Smit team manager including dressing room motivator and team spokesperson.

      StBad - 2011-08-17 09:09

      or a World Cup, Tri Nations, Currie Cup and British and Irish Lions winning most capped captain in Springbok history...

      Travis - 2011-08-17 13:28

      Victor is a poor captain. Legend of the game, but cannot hold a candle to Smit as a captain. Keep JS at 2!!!

  • Sir Eidolon - 2011-08-16 18:49

    Rob 'Blinkers' Houwing must be one of the only remaining Danie Rossouw fans in the country. After his atrocious performance against the Kiwis, he should never don the Springbok jersey again.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-16 19:01

      Dont you mean the performance against Australia ?

      fixit - 2011-08-16 19:03

      Still better at lock than JdV is at centre.

      ZotBot - 2011-08-16 20:20

      There's nothing 'Sir' about you you satanist with a pentagram. P...sss off !!!

      Sighnide - 2011-08-18 08:54

      @Zotbot... ignorance is bliss hey... Pentagrams were used symbolically in ancient Greece and Babylonia, and are used today as a symbol of faith by many Wiccans, akin to the use of the cross by Christians and the Star of David by Jews. The pentagram has magical associations, and many people who practice Neopagan faiths wear jewelry incorporating the symbol. Christians once more commonly used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Jesus. The pentagram has associations with Freemasonry and is also utilized by a number of other belief systems.

  • HumanKind - 2011-08-16 19:05

    "Brains trust". A contradiction in terms. It's like "Military intelligence" A bunch of idiots trying to make decisions that's way beyond their level of intelligence

  • Drewka - 2011-08-16 19:08

    Rossouw, YES he's best at knocking on the ball, YES he's best at being useless in defence, Yes he's best at not cleaning the ruck, and the best at being slow!!!! Yes he is the weakest link!!!

      Ken J May - 2011-08-16 20:07

      Drewka, when Rossouw knocked on the ball, did it open for him?

      Drewka - 2011-08-16 20:43

      Ken, if that last knock was all he did wrong the whole match, then I would give him the benefit of the doubt, but his play overall was very poor. He is useless and brings nothing to the bok side.

      Bootman - 2011-08-16 21:38

      That last knock-on wasnt even a knock-on. It looked like he dropped the ball on purpose because he was too tired to carry on. Danie-saurus should take John Smit by the hand and leave quietly through the back door. Maybe in ten years or so, we will fondly remember them as the guys who won us the WC in 2007.

  • neville.mclean - 2011-08-16 19:52

    Ive lost count how many tackles danie roussouw has missed in his last 3 games, not too mention knock ons. Regardless of where u play, you need to be able to tackle and catch a ball!!!

      Magmansa - 2011-08-17 07:04

      Alot of thumbs down for these kinds of comments about Danie? Its facts guys, like it or not. Danie has been missing heaps of tackles lately, lots of knock-ons and he runs so upright the ball gets ripped from his hands alot. I've always been a big fan of Danies, but this is becoming a big problem....

  • Craig - 2011-08-16 19:59

    You can switch em, move em, train em, motivate em, encourage em, threaten em or even bribe em, they are not going to make us proud any time soon! Thanks DIV!!!

  • Kevin - 2011-08-16 20:13

    Hate to say this, cos i often find myself defending Div, but i, like many others who are not rugby experts can see it as clear as day, that Danie is no loose forward. I didn't even rate him as a loosey under Jake's regime. This has really been the most frustrating time for a bok supporter.

  • edalsg - 2011-08-16 20:43

    BLESBOKKE --Who cares ?? Watch Netball , its more exciting

  • Softy - 2011-08-16 20:46

    Zot Bot...youre just as clueless as PDeV......cant believe your comments..........stick to mofstok you retard

  • Softy - 2011-08-16 20:51

    Kevin if youre not a rugby expert keep your opinion to yourself.......or comment on something that you are an expert at.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-16 20:56

      And of course Softy is the expert.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-08-16 21:15

    Danie is a great player,in his position. JS -- well,far from the best 5 hookers in the country and fast becoming an embarasement with his coach

  • Kleinboet - 2011-08-17 01:19

    If Smit is not in the starting line-up it is because he is not yet fully recovered from his injury, not because of rotation. He has only played three matches so far and is not even match fit yet - so no need to rotate him. Don't tell me PdeV will start play with BduP just to give him game time. It might, however, also be a way to take the pressure off Smit. Afterall, if he sits on the bench he cannot be blamed for yet another loss under his captaincy. Now, in our hour of deepest despair, I should think "the best captain in the business" should be on the field for the full 80 minutes to lead his troops to victory unlees he is injured - in which case he should not even be on the bench. Perhaps (hopefully) somebody has worked it out that the team can do better without him.

  • slg - 2011-08-17 03:33

    It's so obvious he's best at lock it's not even funny. Why we have to learn basic rugby on the job with our national coaches, no less, is totally silly and ridiculous.

  • harry.booth - 2011-08-17 07:48

    Does know one else notice the biggest weak link the Boks have? Danie Rassow! He is simply AWFUL. Cant catch, cant tackle, runs upright into challenges and then loses the bloody ball! Has fooled everyone by being big and muscle bound. Its Pretty Simple.... Replace Smit with Bismark. Burger with Russow and how about running the ball to world class backs instead of kicking it away. Apply that and we have a chance.

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