The Boks aren’t going to win either test against Australia unless something drastic is done.
There seems to be an air of huge complacency in the team and it’s the senior players who seem to be worst affected. You know that I’m a revolutionary at heart, which is why I say “drop the lot of them!” and let’s start fresh with a core of hungry youngsters.
Then again, one needs to consider the reality of the situation and the dearth of quality backup in certain key positions (did you mention flyhalf?) means that we cannot afford to drop every one of the 9 or so players who were poor against the All Blacks. Some fresh blood and new ideas are, however desperately needed. Here follows my master-plan, which I fully expect you guys to pick to pieces in due course.
1) New captain, please. Matfield is a disaster. I’m tempted to suggest something completely off the wall here, like giving it to Bismarck, but I guess discretion should be the better part of valour in this case. Jean de Villiers it will be.
2) The tight five were superb in the scrums and woeful everywhere else. The front row can hang on to their spots, as can Andries Bekker, who actually played very well. Bekker will be in his rightful place, number 5, with Danie Rossouw coming into the number 4 jersey. Johann Muller will come into the bench, along with Deon Carstens. That gives us a core of 8 tight forwards who know how to keep it tight, hit the rucks and generally have a superbly high work rate.
3) We need a genuine fetcher. Baywatch Grobbelaar has been without peer in this department for 3 seasons and it’s time his form is rewarded. He comes straight into the side at number 6. Schalk Burger plays the second fetcher role at 8, with Pierre Spies playing the basher role at 7. Luke Watson and Juan Smith can take each other out for coffee, because neither of them will be needed. Joe van Niekerk will be on the bench and I might even be tempted to pull a rabbit out of the hat, by picking someone like Willem Alberts or Jean Deysel to sit next to him. Those Aussie boys will get the message, yeah Lord!
4) Fourie du Preez needs to go back to the Bulls. He is woeful. Problem is, young Ricky is worse. What to do? Pick Ruan Pienaar, I guess and bring in Janno Vermaak to sit on the bench. Butch James gets one last, final, all-or-nothing test match to prove his worth, mostly because there is nobody else.
5) Centres unchanged, but Jean is at 12 and Adi at 13. Wings unchanged, unless Habs isn’t fit, in which case let’s give Nokwe another go. Percy goes back to Cape Town, with Conrad Jantjes again at fullback.
So here you have it: Rob’s amazing Wallaby-stuffing new-look zero-complacency breakdown-dominating Bok 22…
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Jean de Villiers (capt), 11 Bryan Habana/Jongi Nokwe, 10 Butch James, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Pierre Spies, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Johann Muller, 19 Joe van Niekerk, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Janno Vermaak, 22 Frans Steyn