Pieter De Villiers has some very interesting problems facing him over the next couple of weeks. The intensity shown in the final game of the season between the Sharks and the Bulls was outstanding and for my mind was the equivalent of a final, but had the added interest of the Bulls having to win to top the table and the Sharks having to win with four tries, so no “cup final” mentality was involved. What an outstanding advert for SA Rugby.
Now with less than two weeks before the first game against the Lions and the first test in under a month, we start the next exciting phase of our season, the Lions Tour, so I thought it would be fun to put ourselves in the place of the selectors and see what we could come up with.
So now we have to ponder about Mr Div’s problem, a side to beat the Lions.
Starting at the back. Percy has retired and Conrad Jantjes is not available due to injury, so that leaves us with Terblanche, Rose, Ludik, Daniller and Kirchner. For my mind Daniller has done enough, to beat Stefan, who in my opinion has reached the end and should think about getting out, while he is at the top of his game. Joe Pietersen has had two great games of late, but I think that is exactly what it is, too late
The wings pick themselves, and I would go with Habana and JP Pietersen. The Twins would not let us down and Jongi Nokwe surely has pace. So plenty of depth here.
Now we enter a prickly area, and at first center, I am going with Div hoping he will be right by then, with Frans Steyn as his understudy and at outside center, it is a straight choice between Adi Jacobs and Jacques Fourie. Should Adi’s shoulder be okay, I would go with him and have Fourie on the bench.
Fly half, Butch is out and Pienaar is down with an injury, so who?? Should Ruan recover I would go with him and have Morne Steyn as my backup if he does not recover, I do not have a kicker and being history mad, I am terrified we will make the same mistake we made in the last series, hence me going with Steyn, in case Pienaar is not available. Peter Grant has been given no chance of showing his prowess at fly half because Rassie has persevered with his dinosaur tactics of De Waal, but he would be my reserve as he can cover center as well. Some people have mentioned Rose, but that is all I will say on that idea!!
Scrumhalf is Fourie. There is nobody else to touch him, IMO, with Kockott, being the reserve, again back up for the kicker. 1997 was a very bitter pill to swallow, especially seeing that we outscored them in terms of tries.
So we have a backline which is a touch vulnerable at fly half, otherwise easily has the beating of the Lions.
The forwards is also going to be an intersting selection for him, there are a number of the stalwarts who have not been performing to their normal standard, but the question is, would you replace them? Eighth man is a straight race between Spies and Kanko, here I am going for Spies, he has performed better than Ryan this season and deserves his spot, the question that is now poised has Kanko done enough to be included on the bench, I am not sure he has had his best season, but his last try on Saturday was good enough to convince me. He has enough class and speed not to let the Boks down.
Like him or hate him, Watson has had an outstanding season and would not let the side down apart from maybe disrupting the team spirit, but I am not convinced he would, these guys are professionals and should just get on with the job at hand. However I am going with Kanko, as he gives me more options esp. in the lineout.
Flanks, Juan Smith has been good enough in a very poor Cheetahs outfit to retain his place but has Schalk? He has had one of his worst seasons ever and statistically he is behind young Brüssow, who has had a massive season since debuting for the Boks last year, however, Schalk is still for my mind worth his place in the side just in terms of his experience and I will be interested to see how Brüssow moves on, he is a good player but we have seen a lot of loosies come onto the scene and then in their second season fade away, but Brüssow is a very good player worthy of his challenge. Jean Deysel was very unlucky to get injured when he did, as I think he would have been challenging for a place.
Locks, if Bakkies can come back to earth and stop with the stupid aggro, Matfield and he are automatic choices with Danie Rossouw as back up.
The Front row, well I am going with the Sharks Front row 3. John Smit, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira. and I am naming Jannie du Plessis. and Chiliboy Ralepelle as my reserves. Bismark has had a bit of a fall off, in form but I am unable to replace him with anybody who excites me, the only other option would be to put John Smit back to hooker and bring in another Prop, but John has been bulking up the whole season to play at no3, so I am not going to mess with that.
There are no huge surprises here and to be honest I looked for a bolter to put in and could not find one.
Right so here is My Squad.
15 Zane Kirchner; 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Fourie du Preez; 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3. John Smit, 2. Bismarck du Plessis, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.
16. Jannie du Plessis, 17. Chiliboy Ralepelle, 18. Danie Rossouw, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20. Rory Kockott, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Frans Steyn.
Right so I have had a bit of fun being Mr Snor now it’s your turn. Let the debate beginTweet