Danie Rossouw is set for a start at lock for the Springboks in Saturday’s rugby test against Wales in the Millennium Stadium.
Liam Del Carme writes for Beeld that the utility forward could be paired with Victor Matfield after it emerged on Monday that Bakkies Botha is ready to play no more than 30 minutes. It is expected that Botha will be utilised off the bench.
Botha injured his knee in the test against Argentina in Johannesburg earlier this year. His inclusion in the Springbok touring squad raised some eyebrows, but according to team doctor Craig Roberts the big man is ready to make a comeback at the Millennium Stadium.
“Bakkies did very well. He was sidelined for months and had been on a rehabilitation programme. He only just missed out on being ready for the Currie Cup final,” said Roberts.
“We’ve built his fitness and he did a lot of additional work last week. He trained flat-out today (Monday. “We’ll be happy if he can play 20 minutes. Our goal is to have him playing between 20 and 30.”
With Botha earmarked for the bench, Rossouw could come into the equation.
The other candidate is Andries Bekker. He played with Matfield in Botha’s absence this year, but Bok coach Peter de Villiers may think twice before fielding two such similar locks in the Northern Hemisphere.
Bekker can perform to expectations in the lineouts and with the ball tucked under his arm, but it’s Rossouw’s play in the tight loose that could hold sway.
Bekker is expected to play a part in next week’s test against Scotland.
If Monday’s training is anything to go by, Fourie du Preez will play scrumhalf, while Adrian Jacobs and not Jaque Fourie will wear the No 13 jersey.
Roberts says the team is physically in better shape than many people would expect.
“It’s always difficult at the end of the season. When we got together in Cape Town, I was impressed with the players’ physical condition,” he said.
“There were bumps and bruises from the Currie Cup final because 17 of our players in the group were involved in the final. It was good to have some players resting. We limited their training. However, everybody trained flatout today.”
Possible Bok team: Conrad Jantjes, JP Pietersen, Adrian Jacobs, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, John Smit (captain), Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthrö Steenkamp.Tweet