Retired Springbok prop Robbie Kempson has played selector for rugby365.com and named the team he thinks should start on the Boks’ year-end tour. He has a couple of bolters, especially at fullback and tighthead prop.
South Africa start their tour with a match against Wales on November 8, followed by Tests against Scotland and England on consecutive Saturdays.
The Bok selectors will name their side next Saturday, October 25, after the Currie Cup Final between the Sharks and Blue Bulls. But in the meantime, with the help of Kempson, rugby365.com decided to give them a few pointers.
We tackle each individual position, giving the current Bok in that spot and then Kempson’s selection – with the reason for his decision.
Current Bok: Conrad Jantjes
Kempson’s choice: Stefan Terblanche
Reason: I would pick Stefan Terblanche at fullback, without a shadow of doubt. Like what Percy [Montgomery, now retired] gave us, that is what Stefan Terblanche can bring to the Bok team. People will probably get on about his age, but at the moment, with us playing the British and Irish Lions next season, Stefan Terblanche would be my first choice. We can go through with him till the end of next year, because he is safe under the high ball, he kicks well and he’s got all the makings of a great fullback.
Current Boks: No.14 Odwa Ndungane, No.11 Jongi Nokwe
Kempson’s choice: No.14 Jongi Nokwe, No.11 Bryan Habana
Reason: Habana will be on the left wing for the next few years, unless of course he is injured, My first choice on the right wing would be Jongi Nokwe, unless Pierre Spies does a career move anytime soon. Spies would be very effective on the wing I think, but for now it is Nokwe.
Current Boks: No.13 Adrian Jacobs, No.12 Jean de Villiers
Kempson’s choice: 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers
Reason: My centre combination would be Jaque Fourie, now that he is fit again, and Jean de Villiers – with Francois Steyn on the bench. They are simply the best.
Current Bok: Butch James
Kempson’s choice: Ruan Pienaar
Reason: Peter Grant, possibly, but Morné Steyn has also had a good season. However, personally I will play Ruan Pienaar there. I don’t care if he wants to play at scrumhalf, he is, for what I think, the best flyhalf we have at our disposal right now if Butch James is not going to play. With [Fourie] du Preez there [at scrumhalf] I don’t think Pienaar is going to be playing scrumhalf for the Springboks anytime soon. He is our best at flyhalf and he should play there as often as possible. I feel that Francois Steyn don’t have the temperament to play at flyhalf at all, he’s in his best position at the moment at centre, but if anything move him top fullback in the long term.
Current Bok: Fourie du Preez
Kempson’s choice: Fourie du Preez
Reason: There is no argument about who is the best.
Current Bok: Pierre Spies
Kempson’s choice: Ryan Kankowski
Reason: Kankowski is a true, classic No.8 in the Gary Teichmann mold. How he can be left out of any Springbok loose trio I have absolutely no idea.
Current Boks: No.7 Juan Smith, No.6 Schalk Burger
Kempson’s choice: No.7 Juan Smith, No.6 Schalk Burger
Reason: Schalk Burger and Juan Smith, as the flanks, pretty much pick themselves.
Current Boks: No.5 Victor Matfield, No.4 Andries Bekker
Kempson’s choice: No.5 Victor Matfield, No.4 Andries Bekker
Reason: Bakkies Botha, if fit, should be Matfield’s partner. Andries Bekker would be my first choice in Botha’s absence. I don’t think there is a problem with Bekker and Matfield being too similar. Andries offers a lot of value to the team. Yes is quite fleet-footed and tends to play wing, but he has tightened his game enough to the extend where he can cover that Bakkies role.
Current Bok: Brian Mujati
Kempson’s choice: Jannie du Plessis
Reason: At the moment we don’t have a tighthead who is shining through, there’s been quite a void there since BJ Botha has left for Ireland. I know Jannie du Plessis did very well last week [against Heinke van der Merwe in the Currie Cup semifinal], but I don’t know if he is up to Test standard yet, especially going up to the Northern Hemisphere. CJ [van der Linde] unfortunately is a loosehead, he is not a tighthead in my opinion. He would be perfect for the bench. However, I wouldn’t mind if they experimented – I know they won’t – with Lions prop Ross Geldenhuys. I would give him a run and have CJ on the bench to cover loosehead and tighthead. Ross Geldenhuys for me at the moment would be one of the better tightheads in the country. Jannie du Plessis and Ross Geldenhuys would be my two picks there. I don’t think Ross Geldenhuys is ready for Test match rugby yet, but on a tour like this I would take him along.
Current Bok: Bismarck du Plessis
Kempson’s choice: John Smit
Reason: He selects himself.
Current Bok: Tendai Mtawarira
Kempson’s choice: Tendai Mtawarira
Reason: The Beast, without a doubt, is going to be a phenomenal player for the Springboks for many years to come.
Kempson’s goal-kicker: You have Francois Steyn taking the longer ones, and Ruan Pienaar is adequate enough to be kicking from a flyhalf position. I don’t think he battles with pressure, he would definitely be able to step up to the plate.Tweet