The Springbok side named to take on Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Bench: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Morne Steyn, 22 Jaco Taute, 23 Lwazi Mvovo
Hope you got your team in on time … Courtesy of Energade, I am hosting the winners of the Energade Bok Barometer competition on a trip to see the Boks play in Argentina next year. The winners being the guys or girls who correctly predict the Bok side that Heyneke Meyer picks each week this year …
And this is the side I would have selected:
15 Jaco Taute, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Bench: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Raymond Rhule
Word from Edinburgh suggests that Meyer was thinking of giving his skipper a rest, but then probably looked at the list of alternate inside centres in the squad and promptly changed his mind! Perhaps a little flaw in the initial selection?
Meyer went on record saying that De Jongh will get a run, so that was the only change I expected – with him coming in for Taute at outside centre. He is also on record saying that he believes Taute’s best position to be fullback, but is not keen on making too many changes, so his buddy Zane gets yet another run.
That said, Kirchner did not have a bad game against the Irish. In fact he has been pretty consistent for the Boks, but he is no Electric Light Orchestra, and we all know what we get from him, so why not give someone else a run? More of the Pierre Spies and Morne Steyn saga where he stuck with the player for too long? I would give Taute a run at the back …
I also think Heinke van der Merwe did enough to get a start against the Scots. But Gurthro has proven himself at this level and one cannot fault the selection. Van der Merwe is destructive, and offers the Boks a potential front row weapon for the second half, which is exciting. Quite curious to see CJ on the bench ahead of Pat Cilliers, especially since Jannie has an ankle injury worry. Cilliers is the specialist tighthead in the squad …
Perhaps the biggest bolter in the side I would let loose on the Kilt wearers is the selection of Jano Vermaak at scrumhalf. Neither of Pienaar or Hougaard have exactly set the scene alight, so why not have a little look at the other option in the squad? And give him some game time should the Boks ever need him … He also strikes me as a player who will make use of the five second rule well, and combine nicely with Lambie, who simply has to improve on his rather lack luster performance last week.
I tend to disagree with Meyer with regard to handing out Test caps … In the modern era it is about building squad depth, and that means giving guys a chance to experience Test rugby when you can. Hence the All Blacks being able to make ten changes between games and still dominate. As such, I would have given the likes of Ralepelle, Botha, Franco van der Merwe, Jantjies and Rhule time on the bench.