A couple of little bits floating around the airwaves. None of them really warrant an article in their own right, so let’s lump them all together here:
Of the Springboks: It seems as though Peter de Villiers has named Big Vic Matfield as stand-in skipper for this weekend’s mismatch against Italy. Other news from the camp is that Schalk Burger is fit, so thankfully, it seems we have been spared the ignominy of Luke Watson captaining the Boks in a test. For now, at least.
Man, but didn’t the Boks alternate between sublime and ridiculous on Saturday? The media consensus seems to be that Dev doesn’t have much option now but to pick his strongest combination to face the Iteys, in the hope that they’ll gel before the Tri-Nations. Kanko over Spies is a no-brainer. Monty, alas, is not available, meaning that Jantjes, the up-and-under king who can’t tackle, is likely to continue at fullback.
The one change that absolutely has to be made, though, is to get rid of Tonderai Chavanga. He has been awful two weeks in a row and is clearly not up to it at this level. If he’s picked against Italy, he’ll probably go on to score 6 tries again, given the coach yet more false hope that he’s actually a capable test wing. Odwa Ndungane, to my mind, is the guy that needs to come in for him, based on current form, but JP Pietersen’s name has also been mentioned. I find this strange; JP wasn’t in good enough nick to be named in the original squad at all. How can he now leapfrog Odwa into the side? Of course, the other option is to pick Odwa at fullback. Perhaps a little bit too radical for right now, but you never know…
Of the Blue Bulls: What is it with Francois van Schouwenberg? Is the dude literally stapled to Victor Matfield? The latest is that he too is coming back to the Bulls from Toulon. Why would he do this? He moved away from Loftus to get game time, but got none when Matflied went to the same club. Now that Matfield is leaving, you’d think it would be the ideal opportunity for the young doctor to establish himself at his new club, but no, he decides to move BACK to Pretoria to once again sit on the bench. Perhaps he sees the potential movement of Bakkie Botha the other way as a chance to play alongside his idol in light blue, but whether he would be picked ahead of Danie Rossouw at 4 is quite debatable. What an odd saga.
It seems as thought Heyneke Meyer is off to coach Stade Francais, speaking of all things ligblou. I wonder how many of his favourites will go with him? JP Nel has already decided he’s had enough of Currie Cup rugby. Will we see Liefling, Wynand Olivier and the rest all decide to follow suit, now that Oom Heynie seems to be working his way back into the game?
Of our favourite ex-Shark: It seems Clyde Rathbone is making his return to rugby in some meaningless club game or something. Whatever.
Of the Sharks: It sounds like the guys did pretty well in Welkom, all things considered. This potential injury to Jean Deysel really is a sucker-punch, though and we’re going to struggle to replace him in the short term. Keegan Daniel is the guy most likely to benefit at this stage, but he’s going to have pull finger in a big way.
Oh and I really hope we don’t lose Rory Kockott at any stage. Brad missed all 5 kicks at goal on Friday and without Ruan or Frans we really have zero backup in the goal kicking stakes.Tweet