Can the Boks pro­vide some answers?

‘Spe­cial­ists’ Smith, Fer­reira and Koen to help Coet­zee’s men show fight and im­prove­ment

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

SPRING­BOK fans will be hop­ing to get the answers to sev­eral burn­ing ques­tions over the next four weeks in Europe. Al­lis­ter Coet­zee’s team have their backs against the wall, but it is hoped they show some fight­ing spirit and im­prove­ment against the Bar­bar­ians, Eng­land, Italy and Wales. looks at the hot top­ics un­der the mi­cro­scope... New coaches IN a des­per­ate at­tempt to im­prove var­i­ous as­pects such as at­tack­ing play, de­fence and skill lev­els, Coet­zee has roped in Cur­rie Cup-win­ning Chee­tahs coach Franco Smith to help with the back­line, while Li­ons de­fence guru JP Fer­reira has been tasked with im­prov­ing the de­fence.

Where their in­clu­sion leaves back­line coach Mzwandile Stick no one quite knows but with two so-called “spe­cial­ists” now in­volved, the Boks’ backs play will be un­der more scru­tiny than ever be­fore. Style of play ONE of the big­gest problems of the Bok game plan in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, and even be­fore that against Ire­land in June, is that there was no clear idea of what type of style Coet­zee was try­ing to em­ploy.

While the Boks have been steady in the set-pieces, lit­tle has been seen of the team’s so-called tra­di­tional strengths like maul­ing from the li­ne­out, and driv­ing with the for­wards.

More em­pha­sis was placed on run­ning the ball with the backs but it’s a plan that hasn’t worked.

What will they do in Europe where con­di­tions are very dif­fer­ent to what they’ve en­coun­tered up to now? De­fence CHEAN ROUX has copped plenty of crit­i­cism for the team’s poor de­fen­sive ef­forts this year, and rightly so, but he is no longer in­volved and his place has been taken by Fer­reira.

Will the Boks be tighter de­fen­sively in the com­ing weeks, and how dif­fer­ent will the sys­tem be to what we’ve seen so far? Those are the key ques­tions. What­ever is de­cided on by Fer­reira and Coet­zee, the Boks sim­ply have to im­prove if they are to give them­selves a chance of win­ning. Kick­ing game PHEW ... it’s not only the de­fence and at­tack­ing play that will be fo­cused on, but the team’s kick­ing game as well.

For­mer Bok kick­ing ace Louis Koen will help Faf de Klerk, Rudy Paige, Piet van Zyl and El­ton Jan­tjies.

The Boks’ tac­ti­cal kick­ing – and chas­ing – was woe­ful in the Rugby Cham­pi­onship and needs a dras­tic im­prove­ment if they are to en­joy ter­ri­to­rial dom­i­nance. Tight­head prop THERE’S no Frans Mal­herbe, Julian Redel­inghuys or Jan­nie du Plessis, so all of a sud­den the Boks look a lit­tle vul­ner­a­ble up front.

Vin­cent Koch hasn’t been bad in the No 3 jer­sey and made the Rugby Cham­pi­onship “form team” for some. But beyond him there’s Lourens Adri­aanse, who wasn’t picked in the orig­i­nal Test squad, and the ver­sa­tile Trevor Nyakane, who’s not a tight­head spe­cial­ist. The Bok scrum will be tar­geted, you can bet on that. Fetcher flank THE BOKS’ depth is se­ri­ously go­ing to be put to the test and the No 6 role is just one po­si­tion where many eyes will be fo­cused.

Fran­cois Louw is in­jured and now so too is Jaco Kriel, who was fi­nally due to get a de­cent run at open­side.

Coet­zee will in all like­li­hood have to go with rookie Bulls loosie Roelof Smit, a big tal­ent but a player who’s only played a hand­ful of Cur­rie Cup games. But what an op­por­tun- ity for him and Nizaam Carr. Half­backs MORNE STEYN has been booted af­ter his dis­ap­point­ing show­ing against the All Blacks – and af­ter his match- win­ning kick­ing dis­play against the Wal­la­bies – so it’s back to Jan­tjies or Pat Lam­bie at No 10.

Lam­bie, af­ter per­form­ing poorly at full­back, must be the favourite, while Jo­han Goosen will also be hope­ful of get­ting a chance at fly­half. And will it be Paige or De Klerk at scrumhalf, or will Van Zyl get a look-in? Coet­zee has some tough de­ci­sions ahead of him. Midfield JUAN DE JONGH is out of the tour which means the Boks will again start a Test with a new midfield com­bi­na­tion.

Damian de Al­lende is the only spe­cial­ist in­side cen­tre so he’s cer­tain to start, but then there’s Lionel Mapoe, Jesse Kriel and Fran­cois Ven­ter to pick for the No 13 role.

Coet­zee has favoured Kriel, but Chee­tahs skip­per Ven­ter de­serves a shot at mak­ing the po­si­tion his own. Back three THE ex­per­i­men­ta­tion of em­ploy­ing Lam­bie at full­back is surely over and with Fran­cois Hougaard un­avail­able, Coet­zee has plenty of shuf­fling to do.

Will Goosen re­turn to No 15, or could it be Wil­lie le Roux or Kriel, or – and most are punt­ing for this – will the fit-again Ruan Com­brinck move into the last line of de­fence?

He has all the at­tributes to suc­ceed. Bryan Ha­bana will be back on the left wing, open­ing the door for JP Pi­etersen at No 14, but many will hope Sergeal Petersen gets a chance.

LET’S PLAY FETCH, NEMO! Nizaam Carr has an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete for the green-and-gold No 6 jer­sey.


LIONEL MAPOE: Midfield poser

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