Beast and Bismarck will be back in the front row for sure, but the vexing question has to be what to do at tighthead against France now that Frans Malherbe is injured?
So who will coach Meyer unleash on the French? Fourie du Preez is back with his Japanese club, so Ruan Pienaar will start at scrummie with Jano Vermaak on the bench. Morne Steyn will start at flyhalf, but it will be interesting to see who of Lambie and Le Roux starts at fullback. I suspect the latter (and would agree). The loosies pick themselves, I suspect he will stick with the centre and lock combinations used against Scotland, Beast and Bismarck will be back in the front row, with the vexing question being what to do at tighthead now that Frans Malherbe is injured?
With Wiehahn Herbst having been part of the Bok training group this year and CJ van der Linde the form prop of the Currie Cup, the call up of Frik Kirsten comes straight out of left field. Throw in the fact that it is for one game, more than likely just to make up numbers, and that the likes of BJ Botha and JC Janse van Rensburg are already overseas, and the call up seems even more vexing. That said, Kirsten has performed well this year, ousting Werner Kruger at the Bulls for the big games, and certainly not the worst call.
But unless there is another injury, the Kirsten call up should have no influence on the team selected to play France. And I think it is simple. Coenie Oosthuizen has been on the bench every game this year, is thus next in line, and must start. Even if just to shut pesky nay-sayers like myself up. “Tommy the tourist” Lourens Adriaanse, who I would argue to be the better specialist tighthead, has been part of the set up all year, and must bench.
Had Adriaanse been on the bench for the games against the Welsh and Scots, as advocated by this fat flat eared former front ranker, then the progression to the starting XV would have been obvious, and seamless. But he has been holding bags and taking snaps with his new Samsung. So it is now time for Meyer’s hierarchy to play out, and for Coenie to start …
But I would put money on one of Kirsten (swoon) or Adriaanse starting, and “Work in progress” Oosthuizen being on the bench yet again. Good enough to bench, but not good enough to start. Amazing. It has been Meyer’s biggest selection flaw thus far.
The above first appeared as part of a column on e.NCA.com