Lambie at fullback

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer made three changes to the match 22 for Saturday’s second Test against England at Ellis Park. The only change to the starting XV is at fullback, where Pat Lambie replaces the injured Zane Kirchner.

Pat Lambie

On the bench, Werner Kruger comes in for the injured Coenie Oosthuizen, while Bjorn Basson takes over from Lambie amongst the replacements.

Neither Kruger nor Basson featured in last weekend’s first Test in Durban, won by 22-17 by the Springboks. Both played in their last Tests for South Africa against New Zealand on the away leg of the Tri-Nations last year.

“We decided against no unnecessary changes as we aim to build some continuity during this season,” said Meyer.

“We have confidence in all the players in our squad and that is why Pat, Werner and Bjorn have slotted in easily. Everyone knows what is needed this weekend and they have been very sharp at training. We now need to translate that to the match on Saturday.”

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Bench: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Bjorn Basson, 22 Wynand Olivier

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh (Australia), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)

Comment from Tank Lanning:

I think the selection makes sense given the good performance in the second half last week, and with Lambie being part of that, he is a great addition to the side.

Both would be great impact players, but one cannot really expect new boys Gio Aplon or Dean Greyling to jump the queue, especially given the continuity that Meyer is trying to achieve. Players respect that loyalty … Obviously it can be abused, but in his second Test, I think Meyer has made the right call.

And while Werner Kruger is less of an impact player than Greyling, with Jannie du Plessis struggling with a minor injury, it makes sense to have a tight head on the bench.

With Steyn and Pienaar able to cover fullback, Basson’s ability in the air, a useful skill when attempting to retain possession from box kicks, gets him the nod on the bench.

I might have been tempted to move Hougaard to the wing in place of JP Pietersen, and bring in Pienaar, who made a difference last week. But Hougaard is class, and deserves another start in the number 9 jersey. It still remains an option for the second half though …

Spies had a better outing last weekend, but his lack of real impact on the game still remains a concern. He needs a big game this weekend.


AND IN OTHER NEWS: New scrum call …

Replacing “Crouch, touch, pause engage”, a revised scrum engagement sequence of “Crouch, touch, set”, will be trialled globally next season (starting this year in the North).

The sequence will see the front rows crouch, each prop touch the point of the opposing prop’s outside shoulder,  then withdrawing their arms, and the referee then calling “set” when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then set the scrum.

This sequence was one of six that were extensively researched at six different levels of the Game, including Women’s Rugby, as part of the initial trial process. “Crouch, touch, set” was found to be the most successful and will now be trialled on a global level.

The scrum has been calling out for simplification, and I think this will go a long way to achieving that. Not only is it shorter, with the obvious one less word, but the word “Set” has only one syllable in comparison with the two for “Engage”. It keeps the safety distance of the arm, but will see scrums enage a lot more quickly, hopefully leading to less scrum resets.

One Comment

  1. Two things on the new scrum calls:
    1. Sounds a lot like “On your marks, get set, go!” In fact the refs today usually do point out ‘the mark’ to the scrum so possibly “There’s your mark, Get Set, Go!” and
    2. My daughters (3 and 6) are going to get confused “Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage” is a favorite chant of theirs on any given Saturday.

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