FRANCOIS LOUW IS FULLY FIT AND READY FOR TEST RUGBY, SAYS BOK COACH
IF ALLISTER Coetzee picks Francois Louw to start against the Wallabies here on Saturday it will be the fifth different loose-trio combination to turn out for the Springboks in eight Tests this season.
A key consideration for Coetzee will be whether it will be a gamble to select another new back-row combination, in a Test match the Boks simply have to win.
Louw, who joined the squad from Bath earlier this week after replacing the injured Jaco Kriel (shoulder) in the squad, has all the experience having played 52 Tests and being part of the Bok set-up since 2010, he’s a leader and respected and is – according to Coetzee – in fine form.
But, at 32, Louw will not be part of the long-term planning and he has not featured at all for the Springboks this season.
P W D PF PA PD New Zealand 4 4 0 0 185 85 100 South Africa 4 2 1 1 101 118 -17 Australia 4 1 1 2 131 132 -1 Argentina 4 0 0 4 80 162 -82
LPts 19 11 8 0
been involved in some capacity in all seven Tests.
It’s a big call for Coetzee to make this week. Louw may have the experience and he may have featured last season but he hasn’t been part of the mix at all this year, and things are quite different.
For the first two Tests, against France, Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mohoje and Kolisi packed down in the back-row, for the third Test, Whiteley and Mohoje were ruled out and Du Preez and Kriel came in, while for the two Tests against Argentina, Uzair Cassiem joined the loose-trio to partner Kriel and Kolisi.
Then against the Aussies in Perth, Cassiem, Kriel and Kolisi stayed together, but injury felled Kriel for the All Blacks game and Du Preez came in, again.
Kolisi and Kriel have been outstanding for the Boks throughout the season, but Coetzee has also been hugely impressed with Cassiem, and he’s likely to continue in his No 8 role until Whiteley returns, probably on the November tour of Europe.
“I’m very pleased with what Uzair has brought to the team,” said Coetzee. “He might not be the link man or have spectacular hands, but he’s got a phenomenal work-rate and does a lot of the unnoticed work. He’s not flashy but he makes the players around him perform well. He’s a real grafter.”
Expect Louw to move straight into the Bok starting team, alongside Cassiem and Kolisi when Coetzee names his team tomorrow, with Du Preez again being used as the second half impact player. If that was not the idea then Coetzee would not have brought Louw all the way out from England to be part of the turn-around strategy.