Watch Dubuis­son – McGin­ley

Ry­der Cup cap­tain says French­man could be a good bet at Sun City

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - GRANT WIN­TER

HEYNEKE Meyer has ticked a lot of boxes in his time as Spring­bok coach; the most sig­nif­i­cant be­ing the depth he has cre­ated in the na­tional squad.

In almost ev­ery po­si­tion there are three or four play­ers lin­ing up to start. And, more of­ten than not, it doesn’t mat­ter who starts and who plays off the bench; the Boks re­main a pow­er­ful, well-oiled unit, even if they don’t al­ways fire on all cylin­ders or make the right de­ci­sions.

But no one can say the Boks don’t have qual­ity play­ers across the park. Meyer’s done bril­liantly to blend the youth with the ex­pe­ri­ence and he’s never been shy or scared to take a chance on a young­ster. He’s a great spot­ter of tal­ent and he’s re­warded those who’ve done well do­mes­ti­cally and in Su­per Rugby.

And that is why this week­end, against Italy, Meyer needs to gam­ble some­what and take a chance on a few play­ers. Be­cause, let’s be hon­est here, do we know the iden­tity of our third choice hooker, do we know who our sec­ond choice props are, do we know who’d wear the No 5 on his back if Vic­tor Mat­field didn’t make it to the World Cup?

Bis­marck du Plessis and Adriaan Strauss have been Meyer’s hook­ers from the start of 2012 and it would ap­pear the in­jured Schalk Brits is next in line, but what if one of th­ese men are in­jured come the World Cup? Rob­bie Coet­zee’s Bok tour ended be­cause of in­jury, but now Scarra Ntubeni has an op­por­tu­nity ... surely he should get a game to see if, in­deed, he is Test qual­ity.

Jan­nie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira have been the first choice props for years now, but let’s say both are ruled out of the World Cup, what then? Many of the men Meyer has in­vested in are also crocked at the mo­ment – Mar­cel van der Merwe and Frans Mal­herbe, to name two – and that hasn’t help in build­ing front row depth, but now’s the per­fect time to try Ju­lian Redel­inghuys, Coe­nie Oosthuizen (again) and even Ruan Dreyer.

And surely Lood de Jager can get another go in the Test arena, just to again see what he of­fers the team should any­thing un­to­ward hap­pen to Mat­field be­tween now and the World Cup.

And, con­sid­er­ing the bat­ter­ing Duane Ver­meulen has taken this year, why not start War­ren White­ley or Nizaam Carr this week­end – both men bring some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the No 8 role – while at the back sur­prise tourist Jo­han Goosen needs to be re-ex­am­ined at this level.

I’m not for one minute sug­gest­ing Meyer make whole­sale changes for the Italy clash, but for the sake of hav­ing some of his pre-tour ques­tions an­swered in two weeks’ time he needs to throw some guys into the deep end this week­end.

EUROPE’S in­spi­ra­tional Ry­der Cup cap­tain Paul McGin­ley has tipped French­man Vic­tor Dubuis­son as a player who could set the tour­na­ment alight when he makes his de­but in next month’s Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City.

“Vic­tor is a guy with in­cred­i­ble tal­ent who you’re go­ing to look to as a po­ten­tial Ma­jor win­ner in the next few years,” said Ire­land’s McGin­ley who led Europe to vic­tory over the United States at Gle­nea­gles in Scot­land in Septem­ber, and was in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day as a guest of In­vestec who spon­sor him..

“Vic­tor is a shy, hum­ble guy – the com­plete op­po­site to, say, an Ian Poul­ter.

“But he’s got so much game. One of my goals as Ry­der Cup cap­tain was to get to know ev­ery player as in­ti­mately as pos­si­ble many months be­fore Gle­nea­gles, and I es­pe­cially flew out to Malaysia to have din­ner with Vic­tor for four nights and then to Monte Carlo for a cou­ple of nights.”

McGin­ley fig­ured he would pair him with the ex­pe­ri­enced Graeme McDow­ell in the four­somes in the Ry­der Cup, as he knew the po­ten­tial that this 24year-old Cannes-born golfer had, and that McDow­ell would be able to bring out the best in the young French­man in the for­mat of the Cup where play­ers play al­ter­nate shots.

“If you look back at the stats, it was the four­somes – where team­work is so im­por­tant – that won Europe the Ry­der Cup. We took the four­somes 7-1 and although in the four­balls and sin­gles the Americans ac­tu­ally had a two-point ad­van­tage, our four­somes dom­i­nance was the key in the end.

“Vic­tor is only 24 – the same age as Rory McIlroy – and in golf that means he’s only a kid. He was the num­ber one am­a­teur in the world be­fore he turned pro and he’s got a huge fu­ture ahead of him, so – yes – he could be a player to watch at Sun City.”

Half the vic­to­ri­ous Euro­pean Ry­der Cup team – that’s six play­ers – are in the Ned­bank line-up, be­sides Dubuis­son the oth­ers be­ing for­mer world No1s Lee West­wood, and Martin Kaymer, de­fend­ing cham­pion Thomas Bjorn, Scot­land’s Stephen Gal­lacher and Welsh­man Jamie Donaldson.

McGin­ley was metic­u­lous in en­sur­ing ev­ery de­tail was in place be­fore the Ry­der Cup and felt he could bring out the best in debu­tant Donaldson – who fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Bjorn in last year’s Ned­bank Chal­lenge – by pair­ing him with­the ex­pe­ri­enced Lee West­wood. And it proved a smart move be­cause in the four­somes West­wood and Donaldson beat Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar 2 up on the Fri­day and Kuchar and Zach John­son 2/1 on the Satur­day.

So there’s Dubuis­son and Donaldson – two play­ers per­haps not too well known with South African fans, but who are likely con­tenders to hit the jack­pot when the world-class 30-man line-up shoots for glory over the Gary Player Coun­try Club course from De­cem­ber 4-7.

McGin­ley was asked if he felt a player can only be re­garded as a great player if he has a Ma­jor vic­tory un­der his belt, but he wasn’t happy to go along with that line of thought.

He com­pared Colin Mont­gomerie, who topped the Euro­pean Or­der of Merit an un­canny seven times but never won a Ma­jor with Amer­i­can Ben Cur­tis, who won one Bri­tish Open but has done lit­tle else by com­par­i­son and reck­oned that you’d have to go with Monty.

The en­tire field for the Ned­bank Chal­lenge has not been fi­nalised yet and there could be five, six, seven or even eight South Africans in the line-up. The fans will prob­a­bly be root­ing for our boys, but – as McGin­ley points out – they’ll have to play some to beat the likes of Dubuis­son and Donaldson.

PIC­TURE: GETTY IMAGES

KING OF SWING: Paul McGin­ley‘s cap­taincy was key in Europe’s Ry­der Cup vic­tory over the United States but the 47-year-old Ir­ish­man is still a fine player him­self.

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