Former Springbok coach, Jake White, believes that Frans Steyn should be South Africa’s fullback. White feels the national selectors largely got it right with the Bok squad chosen for the series against the British and Irish Lions.
But a few eyebrows will be raised over Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner – he was left out of the team despite a superb performance in the Super14 series.
“I think Frans will play at fullback and this will be a good option. You get a good kicking boot with him there,” said White.
“If you don’t pick Frans on fullback, then Morné Steyn is a must as flyhalf with his ability to kick for posts. You could also play JP Pietersen at fullback, but he is not a kicker.”
“If you pick Ruan Pienaar at flyhalf, then you have to have Frans as an additional kicker in the team.”
Stephen Nell writes for Sport 24 that White added that he would have picked Smit as hooker. “I don’t know if I would’ve moved South Africa’s best captain of all times to tighthead prop. The Lions series is not something for which you plan longterm. You simply have to win the series,” he said.
“I do believe it is a brilliant group. We can’t go wrong with them.”
Former SWD Eagles coach, Phil Pretorius was surprised that the selectors had not picked the best fullbacks from the Super14 series.
“It is an extremely talented group and South African rugby is clearly at the crest of a wave. We look even stronger than when we won the World Cup,” said Pretorius.
“If I were in the shoes of the Lions, there would be a few positions on which I would focus. Andrew Sheridan (the English loosehead prop) for example destroyed Australia’s scrum in the quarter-final of the World Cup. There is no outright tighthead prop in the Bok group.”
“I would also be worried if Ruan Pienaar is chosen ahead of Morné Steyn as flyhalf. Ruan is actually still a scrumhalf and this is a possible weak link.”
“South Africa’s in-form fullbacks in the Super14 series were Zane Kirchner and Stefan Terblanche. Don’t tell me Stefan is too old. The series against the Lions is a one-time affair.”
Griquas coach, Dawie Theron, expressed support for the squad but would have liked to have seen more depth in the tighthead prop position. He believes John Smit would be able to hold his own in the no 3 jersey.
“I would have liked to have included Jannie du Plessis, but he perhaps did not do enough in the Super14 series to make his mark,” said Theron.
“Morné Steyn is an example of a man who made his mark. He was initially out of favour, but simply showed that he was the best in the country. When the opportunity presents itself, you have to grab it. I believe you choose based on form and not potential.”Tweet