One squad for Baabaas, and an­other for the Tests?

Yes sir, yes sir ... Al­lis­ter has his hands full look­ing to fill vi­tal po­si­tions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

WITH pos­si­bly 15 Spring­boks who did duty in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship un­avail­able to run out against the Bar­bar­ians at Wem­b­ley on Novem­ber 5, ex­pect a few un­likely tourists when Al­lis­ter Coet­zee names his squad to­day.

As the match against the Baabaas falls out­side World Rugby’s Test win­dow, none of the over­seas- based Boks will be avail­able to Coet­zee. So Willem Al­berts, Jo­han Goosen, Bryan Ha­bana, Steven Kit­shoff, Morne Steyn, Wil­lie le Roux, Fran­cois Hougaard, Fran­cois Louw, Vin­cent Koch, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, War­ren White­ley, Lionel Mapoe and El­ton Jan­tjies will all be miss­ing.

Lood de Jager, who copped a one- match sus­pen­sion for dan­ger­ously charg­ing into a ruck against the All Blacks in Dur­ban a few weeks ago, will also sit out the first clash of the Boks’ end-of-year tour.

Louw, af­ter re­cently pick­ing up a ham­string in­jury play­ing for Bath, will miss the en­tire North­ern Hemi­sphere trip, open­ing the door for Kriel to make his first start in a Bok jer­sey.

The big ques­tion ahead of to­day’s squad an­nounce­ment – which will ac­tu­ally be two squads, one for the Baabaas game and one for the Tests against Eng­land, Italy and Wales – is who’ll fill in for the over­seas-based Boks against the Baabaas? With Steyn and Jan­tjies both un­avail­able, Pat Lam­bie is cer­tain to start at No 10 af­ter ear­lier play­ing at full­back. But it is un­der­stood that Coet­zee has been im­pressed by the per­for­mances of the Free State Cheetahs fly­half Niel Marais, as well as Blue Bulls pivot Tian Schoe­man. Marais’ Cheetahs team­mates, wing Sergeal Petersen, cap­tain and cen­tre Fran­cois Venter and prop Ox Nche are also on the radar, and pos­si­bly for all four matches. With there still be­ing un­cer­tainty around the fit­ness of Sikhum­buzo Not­she and Siya Kolisi, who both missed the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, Coet­zee is look­ing for a back-up to Kriel at open­side flank. It is un­der­stood that Golden Lions loosie Kwagga Smith, is in the run­ning, along with Bulls rookie Roelof Smit. Whether Duane Ver­meulen gets the nod is any­one’s guess but it is un­likely, as he hasn’t played in months. Fel­low France- based cam­paigner, Frans Steyn has been touted to pos­si­bly make his re­turn to the na­tional team, and t he same goes for Bis­marck du Plessis. Coet­zee also has to search all over again for a tight­head prop as only Koch will be avail­able for the three Tests. The Bok coach will need to find a No 3 for the Baabaas out­ing – maybe Trevor Nyakane will get a proper run, or Lizo Gqoboka will be given an op­por­tu­nity.

Frans Mal­herbe and Ju­lian Redel­inghuys are also side­lined so will there be – as some have spec­u­lated – a re­call for Jan­nie du Plessis?

In some good news, wing Ruan Com­brinck has re­cov­ered from in­jury and should crack the nod for the over­seas ex­cur­sion.

Lions team­mate Ro­han Janse van Rens­burg will also be hop­ing to get a look- in af­ter sev­eral strong per­for­mances in Su­per Rugby and the Cur­rie Cup.

And don’t be sur­prised if Ire­land- based Ruan Pien­aar is re­called, es­pe­cially as he fa­mil­iar with the con­di­tions in Europe. The Boks gather in Jo­han­nes­burg to­mor­row to be­gin prepa­ra­tions.

SOLID AS THEY COME: Ox Nche is one of many un­capped play­ers on the na­tional radar for the end-of-year tour.

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