Ricky Januarie is under even more pressure now than he was when he lost his place in the South African rugby team last week.
Pieter Jordaan writes in Volksblad that Januarie’s omission gave Bolla Conradie an opportunity to return to Test rugby and the Western Province veteran did so well in the first Test against Wales that it will be hard to replace him now.
Conradie’s inclusion in the starting line-up after Januarie had been dropped for a breaching the Springbok team’s code of conduct was seen as a major surprise. His performance must have been an equally big surprise to some critics.
His service to flyhalf Butch James was fast and secure and his decision-making excellent.
The 30-year-old Conradie had a major hand in the try that Pierre Spies scored in the second half.
He was on hand to take the ball after a break by flanker Luke Watson and he beat a Welsh defender before offloading to Spies.
Because of his experience, Conradie was not overly nervous about being brought into the team at such short notice.
James praised Conradie for his performance. “He had an outstanding game. We’re fortunate to have so many fine scrumhalves in South Africa,” the flyhalf said.
Conradie is probably No 3 on coach Peter de Villiers’s list of scrumhalves, with World Cup star Fourie du Preez and Januarie at the top.
The Welsh also arrived in South Africa without three top scrumhalves, Dwayne Peel, Mike Phillips and Andy Williams.
This gave Gareth Cooper an opportunity to play in Bloemfontein but he, in contrast to Conradie, produced a disappointing performance.
Another Springbok who seized his opportunity in the first Test is centre Adrian Jacobs, who had been recalled to the team after an absence of several years.
Jacobs left the field during the second half, but he is expected to be fit to play in Pretoria.
The Sharks midfielder, who had combined well with Jean de Villiers, had to go off because of cramps.
“I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “I had a couple of cramps but I can’t wait for the Pretoria Test because Peter (de Villiers) wants us to move the ball around.”
Minor injuries are likely to prevent one or two of the other Springboks from training on Monday but all members of the squad should be available for the Test at Loftus Versfeld.Tweet