This time next year, you, me, and four of your closest mates will be back from a magnificent trip to Argentina to support the Boks – thanks to Energade … That is if you correctly predicted the exact Bok side Heyneke Meyer will pick later this afternoon! Ice cold beer, massive steaks, good looking babes, and Bok rugby … Better than a poke in the eye with a red hot poker I would say … Details below …
As is my want, I will have my usual stab at the side I think he will pick, together with the side I would pick to take on the Aussies in Pretoria on Saturday …
First up, the current 30 man Springbok squad:
Forwards (17): Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Juandré Kruger, Tiaan Liebenberg, Francois Louw, Tendai Mtawarira, Coenie Oosthuizen, Jacques Potgieter, Adriaan Strauss, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen
Backs (13): Jean de Villiers (captain), Juan de Jongh, Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Morné Steyn, Jaco Taute.
The 22 I think Heyneke Meyer will pick to play Australia on Saturday:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Morne Steyn, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie
And this is the side I would select:
15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Bench: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Jaco Taute
Be it through public pressure or be it through coming to the realisation that Morne Steyn is not the man right now, Meyer has hinted during the week that Goosen will get a run against the Aussies, and has been running in the pivot position at training. Frans Steyn has a dodgy ankle, but it seems he will be ready to take the field on Saturday. If not, Meyer might be tempted to keep the other Steyn at flyhalf with De Jongh coming in at centre …
It seems palpably obvious to everyone except the coach that the Boks need to carry the ball a little more, and take the ball closer to the advantage line, and I believe Goosen to be the man for that. I would go one step further and select Lambie at fullback, but Meyer is by nature a conservative fellow and likes Kirchner at the back. As said before, I do not think he cuts it at the highest level, but the coach clearly does, and there might even be political pressure to have him in the side.
De Villiers is certainly not playing his best rugby, falling off tackles, and losing the ball in the tackle, but it would take a brave, brave coach to change his skipper now. And I would agree.
I also think we might see the best of every single player in the side if the Boks were indeed to move to a more possession based game plan that saw people running at space, rather than other people, and taking the first point of contact a little wider …
Andries Bekker needs proper game management given his back issues, but he has had a week off and looked better when on against the All Blacks. Still needs to do a little more donkey work, but probably deserves a start, as does Etzebeth, who is back from suspension. Not that Flip van der Merwe had a bad game when starting though – and that is good news for the Boks.
Meyer likes Oosthuizen, and believes he can play both sides of the scrum. He is just back from injury though (only one game for the Cheetahs), so I would go with the tried and tested CJ van der Linde on the bench. He can definitely play both sides, and his form in the Currie Cup has been good. We all saw what an “Out there” prop selection on the bench did last time!
It seems Meyer will pick Steyn on the bench, but having suggested that he needs time away from the game, I would have him on a beach somewhere playing boule. I am yet to be convinced re Jantjies ability at Super Rugby level, let alone international, but he is in the squad and is in top Currie Cup form, so let’s have a look at him. If playing Goosen, one might as well go the whole hog. Having Steyn as backup is like being half pregnant …
Jaco Taute is a magnificent talent, and it should be utilised. Everyone knows what Zane can or can’t do. There is no reason to have him on the bench if starting with Lambie, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to expose Taute to top tier rugby. That said, if, as expected, Meyer does go with Kirchner at the back, then it is both Lambie and Taute fighting for that 5 minutes of game time at the death.
A Bok side looking like the one I have selected would rekindle my waning enthusiasm …
How To WIN the trip to watch the Boks play in Argentina next year …
Head to the Energade Bok Barometer – http://www.supersport.com/rugby/bokbarometer
Select your Springbok XV by clicking on the jersey in each position, and picking a player from those provided in the drop down … Hit the Save button once your team is finalised, and you are in the draw!
You can update your team as often as you like for the duration of the 2012 Springbok season. The entries for each game will be locked before the announcement of the Springbok team each week. You are then able to select your team for the next match.
All those that select the exact Springbok team – including jersey numbers – that takes to the field for just one of the Bok games this year will go into a draw, with weekly winners announced every Monday after a Bok match.
Each match winner will receive R5 000 and a personalised Springbok jersey signed by their favourite Springbok. The grand prize will see the winner jet off to watch the Boks play their Rugby Championship match in Argentina in 2013, courtesy of Energade.