Versatile Ruan Pienaar could be deployed at flyhalf when South Africa play Argentina in a rugby Test match in Johannesburg on August 9.
Stephen Nell speculates on News24.
Butch James was again disappointing when the Springboks went down 9-16 in their Tri-Nations match against Australia here on Saturday.
The team’s management may now use the match against Argentina to weigh their options before the start of the Tri-Nations matches at home.
Pienaar replaced James late in the recent match in Dunedin, where South Africa beat New Zealand 30-28.
Former Wallaby Coach Eddie Jones suggested last year, during the time he spent with the Springboks, that Pienaar be utilised at No 10.
However, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was cautious when he spoke about James’s position after Saturday’s defeat.
“The fact that Butch has been singled out in the media for alleged late and high tackles could unnerve him a little because he may feel he is being watched all the time,” De Villiers said.
“That is why it is good to talk to the referee before a match; to find out what he will be looking at.”
Pienaar is a good distributor of the ball and kicks well. He also replaced James during the second half when the Springbok beat Namibia 105-13 at Newlands last year.
Frans Steyn was not a success when he played at flyhalf against Italy earlier this season and Peter Grant has not had an opportunity to prove himself at Test level.
Hooker Bismarck du Plessis, who will be eligible to play on August 4 after his suspension, will certainly replace Schalk Brits in the SA starting line-up.
The selection of the reserve hooker will be interesting. Adriaan Strauss impressed with the way his got stuck in when he took over from Brits after 52 minutes of the Test in Perth.
“We missed Bismarck’s hard work up front,” De Villiers said. He added, though, “All 28 players who came on this tour feel part of the success. It will be easier now. One can do with 23 or 24 now and release the rest to play Currie Cup rugby.
Schalk Burger’s neck injury will determine how much game time flanker Luke Watson will have during the next month or two.
Seeing that he has been part of the squad all season, Watson is the logical choice on the open side if Burger is ruled out for some time.
Wikus van Heerden of the Blue Bulls and Heinrich Brüssow of the Cheetahs could also come into contention.
The selectors will also take a good look at the fitness of stalwarts from the Jake White era, such as Fourie du Preez and Jaque Fourie.
Du Preez was the best scrumhalf at the World Cup tournament last year. His willingness to take responsibility and absorb pressure took much of the pressure off James’s shoulders.
Ricky Januarie’s individual brilliance won the Dunedin Test for South Africa but he had problems on Saturday because of the immense pressure that the Wallabies exerted.
Fourie won’t have an easy route back into the team either. Adrian Jacobs should recover from his hamstring injury in time to play against Argentina and Steyn remains in the picture.
Depending on Bryan Habana’s shoulder injury, the selectors may also have to make a change on the wing.Tweet