Andries Bekker should be picked ahead of Victor Matfield in the Springbok rugby team.
Stephen Nell writes in the Die Burger that this is the opinion of Griquas coach Dawie Theron, who believes it will be difficult for his team to halt Western Province’s march to the Currie Cup semi-final when the two teams meet here at Newlands on Friday evening.
Bekker was the star last week when WP routed the Falcons by 92-15. He scored five tries.
“Andries has started reminding of Victor when he used to become red hot,” Theron said on Wednesday. I would honestly pick him ahead of Victor. He is hungry and has the talent.
“Of course I have a lot of respect for Victor. He is very experienced, but I don’t know how hungry he still is. He’s achieved everything in the game and goes through quiet phases. But in Andries I see the hunger one used to see in Victor in the early years.”
Bekker and Matfield have been paired by Bok coach Peter de Villiers this year following Bakkies Botha’s injury. Matfield has been captaining the South African team in the absence of John Smit.
However, Smit and Botha are expected to be available for South Africa’s tour to Britain at the end of this year.
“I would start with Bakkies and Andries, but would definitely also keep Victor in the picture,” said Theron. Between Bakkies, Andries and Victor we have three of the world’s top locks.”
While WP’s lock pairing of Bekker and Adriaan Fondse will give the team good service in the line-outs, Theron hopes that the Griquas’ scrum can give WP a run for their money.
“Our strength has always been our scrummaging,” said Theron, adding that they will want to dominate in that department.
Ruaan du Preez, who has been released by Province to join Griquas, will be played at tighthead prop by Theron on Friday night.
While Theron wasn’t happy with the way things went in the scrums when his team lost 20-41 to the Lions last weekend, he also believes referee JC Fortuin did not apply the rules correctly.
“It will be a different story with Jonathan Kaplan blowing the whistle this week. He handles scrums very well,” said Theron.
Friday’s match therefore again provides the two young WP props – Wicus Blaauw and JC Kritzinger – with an opportunity to show what they’re made of with a view to next year’s Super14 series.
The front row is the only area in which WP will lack experience, but Blaauw and Kritzinger are being groomed with a definite long-term goal in mind.
“We know WP are very dangerous now, with their Boks back in the side. WP is a team on a mission, and that is to reach the semis,” said Theron.
The Griquas team: Riaan Viljoen, Bjorn Basson, Jaco Bekker, Herkie Kruger, MJ Mentz, Conrad Barnard, Sarel Pretorius, Gareth Krause, Frans Viljoen, Rohan Kitshoff, Stefan Gerber, Wayne van Heerden, Ruaan du Preez, Hans van Dyk, Regardt Dreyer.
Subs: Dean Hopp, Bees Roux, Jacques Lombaard, Brendon Snyman, Dougie Helmuth, Naas Olivier, Barry Geel.Tweet