Boks coach Peter de Villiers has asked “talented” Frans Steyn and Ruan Pienaar to make an important decision…
Jacques van der Westhuyzen writes in the Daily News that Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has told Ruan Pienaar it is up to him to decide in what position he wants to play his rugby.
The same goes for the equally versatile Frans Steyn. Both players were this week dropped from the 24-man squad from which the team to take on Argentina at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday will be chosen.
Pienaar, Steyn, wing Odwa Ndungane and loosehead prop Gurthro Steenkamp were chopped from the Bok squad on Sunday. The decision by De Villiers leaves the Boks with just one specialist flyhalf, Butch James, in their present squad.
The Bok boss said should something happen to James during Saturday’s Test, in celebration of former president Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, veteran team member Percy Montgomery will fill in at flyhalf.
The decision to release Pienaar and Steyn came as something of a surprise on Sunday considering Pienaar was last week said to be in the running to don the No 10 jersey against the Argentinians.
It was also surprising because in Steyn the Boks have a player who can play in any position in the backline, bar scrumhalf.
“They’re so talented, they can play anywhere and do a good job,” De Villiers said on Monday.
“All we can do as coaches is discuss with the relevant players their strengths and weaknesses and advise them where we think they must play.
“But they must take the responsibility and make that decision themselves,” said De Villiers.
“Ruan must go back to the Sharks and have a chat with his coach (John Plumtree) and make the choice where he wants to play. Then we can take it from there.”
Pienaar has said he wants to play only scrumhalf, but he is currently third in line behind Ricky Januarie and Fourie du Preez at the Boks, while at the Sharks Plumtree may well decide to also use him at flyhalf when scrumhalf Rory Kockott is back to fitness. Steyn wants to play flyhalf, but may have to compete with Pienaar or Frederic Michalak.
But what is important and relevant right now is that Pienaar, Steyn, Ndungane and Steenkamp get game-time. And hats off to De Villiers for the decision he’s taken. It doesn’t really matter where these men play, but play they must.
“We had the luxury of carrying these guys on tour, but it’s no use they carry tackle bags around while in South Africa,” said De Villiers.
“If we need them we can call them up at any time. It’ss in their, and our, best interests that they go and play rugby so when they do come back they’re fit and ready to go. We know what attributes they can bring to the team. Right now they’re in desperate need of game-time.”Tweet