Cape Argus - - SPORT -

COACH Rassie Eras­mus has sur­prised many ob­servers with is se­lec­tions up to now and this week is no dif­fer­ent with the Spring­boks up against their big­gest ri­vals, the All Blacks, to­mor­row.

And, for the first time since Eras­mus took charge of the na­tional team, he will go into a Test with less than five black play­ers in his start­ing side. One of his ma­jor tar­get ar­eas as na­tional coach is to get the Bok team prop­erly trans­formed and while he has done well up to now – pick­ing be­tween five and seven black play­ers in each start­ing team – one must ques­tion some of his se­lec­tions this week and ask whether some of the black play­ers haven’t been given a raw deal.

It is dis­ap­point­ing that Eras­mus picked Ch­es­lin Kolbe – a spe­cial­ist out­side back – from his over­seas club to be part of the tour group in Aus­tralia and New Zealand, but then not back the player when the one wing po­si­tion opened up, fol­low­ing Maka­zole Mapimpi pick­ing up a tourend­ing in­jury last week.

While Jesse Kriel can no doubt do the job, the re­al­ity is the Bulls man has played wing be­fore and was found want­ing.

There will also be many ques­tion­ing Eras­mus putting faith in Han­dre Pol­lard at No 10, in­stead of stick­ing with El­ton Jan­tjies, who played well enough last week to hang onto the No 10 jumper, when the Bulls man hasn’t quite fired for the Boks this sea­son.

And while hooker Mal­colm Marx was prob­a­bly al­ways in line to start this Test, Bongi Mbonambi seemed to have been harshly treated last week when he was taken off the field be­fore half-time. And, what about Em­brose Pa­pier? The young scrumhalf has sat on the bench as backup to Faf de Klerk for most of the Boks’ Tests this sea­son, but when he didn’t fire last week, Eras­mus kept him on and didn’t back Pa­pier to do the busi­ness.

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