Springbok coach Peter De Villiers, has full confidence in Ruan Pienaar’s ability to handle the kicking duties against the British & Irish Lions.
Stephen Nell writes for Die burger that Pienaar started the season as the Sharks’ goal kicker, but a success ratio of 0/3 against the Stormers and 1/3 against the Lions saw Rory Kockott take over the kicking duties on both occasions.
Kockott also stepped to the fore as the designated kicker for the Sharks during their Australasian tour. Pienaar has since damaged his knee ligaments and will be on the list of injured for a couple of weeks.
“You get flyhalves who are playmakers and others who are decision makers. Ruan is both” De Villiers said confidently about Pienaar.
“Ruan, Jean de Villiers and Adi Jacobs are the type of players that might make three errors, but will be able to cross the gainline seven times. For that they need the ball in hand ten times”
“Everyone is crazy about Kockott, but he removes the rest of the backline from play by using each opportunity himself. That is why The Sharks are starting to struggle. Ricky Januarie and Fourie Du Preez succeed in getting the ball to the decision makers quickly”
“THESE are the little things I look at – which of my players are prepared to put another player into a better position than himself”
De Villiers would like to see the Sharks show more trust in Ruan. “Ruan is one of the best. The Sharks aren’t showing confidence in him, they are looking for the easiest way out”
“Ruan kicks the ball accurately. Last year I had no other kicker in my team because I did not need another kicker”
“I accepted he would miss one or two kicks, but he did complete the task”
South Africa lost the 1997 Lions series, in part, because of poor goal kicking.
“I am not worried” De Villiers said.
“We will score tries and ensure that they don’t score tries”
“I don’t want a kicking flyhalf. I want a flyhalf that can ALSO kick”
De Villiers also revealed that the Bulls eighthman, Pierre Spies, saved his career with his good form in the Super 14 series.
Last year De Villiers persevered with Spies despite his poor form at international level
“If he hadn’t shown what he is capable of now, then he would not have made it”
“Last year he was often stopped before crossing the gainline, now he gets across the gainline easier and uses his explosive power through gaps and then passes the ball”
De Villiers is not surprised by the improvement in form that Spies has shown since last year.
“I expected it” De Villiers said.
Spies will have to stay on his toes though.
“Ryan Kankowski is a big part of my future plans. He will never let South Africa down at international level, but he is better when the game is loose. He is still young”Tweet