Pick Butch James at flyhalf. That was the advice on Monday from former Springbok assistant coach Gert Smal to the Springbok selectors ahead of the Test series against the British and Irish Lions in June and July.
Smal is now Ireland’s forwards coach, but still does not want to see the Boks lose a series by making the same mistakes as in 1997. That means South Africa should play with a reliable goalkicker.
“You can’t play test rugby without a goalkicker. Butch’s temperament and presence can create space for the South African backs,” said Smal.
“He may not maintain an 80 percent success ratio in his kicking at posts, but he’s reliable enough. His form is good and he has the right temperament. Butch gives the players around him a lot of confidence.”
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that Ruan Pienaar, who was entrusted with the No 10 jersey on South Africa’s tour in November, has not played since the Sharks’ defeat against the Reds on 14 March.
He has been sidelined with a knee injury. He only kicked for posts against the Stormers and Lions.
Scrumhalf Rory Kockott took over from him in those games and has subsequently handled the goalkicking.
“The Lions will definitely test Ruan’s defence. They won’t do that with Butch,” said Smal.
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers recently told Sport24 that he would like to see the Sharks show more confidence in Pienaar as goalkicker.
Smal believes Kockott could be a “dark horse” for South Africa because of his kicking boot.
“Fourie du Preez and Ricky Januarie are, however, established,” said Smal.Tweet