Can the Boks provide some answers?
‘Specialists’ Smith, Ferreira and Koen to help Coetzee’s men show fight and improvement
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.
TREVOR NYAKANE: Versatile
LIONEL MAPOE: Midfield poser