Marx and Goosen should start

Johan Goosen as the general at flyhalf and Malcolm Marx as the imposing hooker says Tank Lanning in his Sport24 column, who takes a gander at the Bok squad before picking his match day 23.

Tank Lanning

I like the look of Allister Coetzee’s latest Bok squad, and I really enjoy the fact that he had the stones to give big name players like Willie le Roux and JP Pietersen the chop. Both are classy, but out of form, and it’s important that the Boks do not become an exclusive club.

It’s great to see Malcolm Marx and Johan Goosen getting a look in. Both are in exceptional form having proved their worth in their respective provincial sides, hence being contenders for the starting XV, let alone match day 23.

How Lwazi Mvovo did not join his back three buddies on the chopping board is beyond me. Hopelessly out of form yet keeping players like Jumba Ulengo, Bjorn Basson and Courtnal Skosan out?

In fact, I would have had two of those promising wings in the squad ahead of Bryan Habana, but one can understand Coetzee chasing the safety of a few caps out wide, especially as the rest of the back three are likely to be quite green.

The Harry Crocker is the non-selection of Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who has been in sublime form for the Vodacom Super Rugby finalists – bullocking power, a turn of pace, and the ability to offload in the tackle. I would have had him ahead of Damien de Allende who could do with some time building his confidence in the Currie Cup.

Another deserving of his call up is Lourens Adriaanse, even if a little late, and he would be another that I would fast track into my starting XV. The Sharks got it incredibly wrong this year by selecting Coenie Oosthuizen ahead of Adriaanse, and paid the price. Not showy, Adriaanse ticks the primary box of a tighthead prop – scrumming. Right shoulder on your own ball, disruption via a wheel or 8 man shove on the opposition ball. Keep the theatrics for the bench.

That said, Julian Redelinghuys has been in fantastic form all season for a power Lions scrum, and no one could complain were he to be given a start. Vincent Koch is making his way back from a scratchy scrumming patch, and with Frans Malherbe injured, it’s fantastic to have these three tightheads at the ready.

And with the likes of Dylan Smith, Charles Marais, Ox Nche and Oli Kebble waiting in the wings at loosehead, this “Prop crisis” that Coetzee alluded to during the week is miles off the mark. He is the same guy who said: “Like Trevor, Lourens can play on both sides of the scrum”, though. No they can’t, and more importantly, neither is there any need for them to do so in 23 man squads!

So given the 31 man squad selected, this is the side I would select:

Boks: 15: Jesse Kriel, 14: Ruan Combrinck, 13: Lionel Mapoe, 12: Damian de Allende, 11: Bryan Habana, 10: Johan Goosen, 9: Faf de Klerk, 8: Warren Whiteley (c), 7: Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6: Jaco Kriel, 5: Franco Mostert, 4: Eben Etzebeth, 3: Lourens Adriaanse, 2: Malcolm Marx, 1: Steven Kitshoff.

Bench: Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira, Julian Redlinghuys, Sikhumbuzo Notshe/Francois Louw, Duane Vermeulen, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Juan de Jongh

Traveling Wilburys:

Forwards: Vincent Koch, Bongi Mbonambi, Lood de Jager, Oupa Mohoje,

Backs: Rudy Paige, Lwazi Mvovo, Morne Steyn

The Boks tend to play better with a big bruiser of a ball carrier at 7 and I think it’s worth giving Du Toit a shot, especially with so many good locks in the squad. Another option would be to play Vermeulen at 7, which would not scare me at all.

Jantjies has been excellent for the Lions this year, but showed in the final that he still has a bit to go in terms of his defence, controlling a game, and varying his attacking play in the face of a speedy defensive line. Goosen has been playing alongside Dan Carter and was voted one of the Top 14 Players of the Season.

How much “Lions rugby” will Coetzee add to the Bok mix? I am guessing not much, but it’s going to be a fascinating Rugby Champs. Time to see if these Boks have what it takes!


  1. Totally agree with Goosen. People is SA forget that the French league is very strong and playing next to Dan Carter… Well it speaks for itself.

    However, while Goosen has been very good, he has played center and full back for Racing so not 100% sure he is comfortable at 10 again.

    de Allende, he really look out of sorts against Ireland…

    1. And to be fair, it’s not as if Jantjies does not deserve a start. As said in the column, I have my concerns re him in big games, but perhaps give him the stage to prove me and the other nay-sayers wrong?

  2. Tank with all due respect you must have been unconscious during the Japan/SA game less than a year ago. Perhaps the trauma of watching the game has somehow blocked out some of the specifics of that loss. It was a terribly embarrassing day for poor Pieter and he should never be given the opportunity of repeating such a performance. Pieter Steph is a great lock and so he should be left to be. The fact that he was out of position at times and late at the breakdown shows clearly his lack of understanding of the role he was required to fulfil. Just because he has the build it surely doesn’t mean he has the skills and it sure as hell shouldn’t be coached to a player at this level. But if there’s one thing we should have learned from the Japan game is that skill and technique can surely in todays modern game overpower size. If you check the stats the man of the match for the Japan vs Boks game weighed only 71kg.

    When will learn from our mistakes and when do we start adapting to the modern game.

    1. Classic Hadley – love the chirp. A LOT went on behind the scenes prior and during that Japane game that was always going to make it a horror show for the Boks. Writing off PSdT at 7 because of that would be like writing off Vincent Koch after he was put to pasture by that twat of a referee Poite

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