It looks like we’re going to field a somewhat different team against the Lions in the third test. Assuming my particular version of sanity were to prevail, this is what I’d look to do.
Problem 1: No Bakkies Botha. Simple, bring in Danie Rossouw. Oh wait, no Rossouw either. Well, at least we know that Andries Bekker is unlikely to be fit either, thus sparing us from seeing yet more of the lopsided Bekker-Matfield combo. Bringing in a specialist tight lock to replace Botha is thus a must and it has to come down to straight choice between Steven Sykes and Johann Muller. Sykes is a more natural 4, but Muller would get my vote, based on his experience, leadership and versatility.
Problem 2: No Schalk Burger. Bring in Brüssow. He’s a better player anyway. Next?
Problem 3: No Danie Rossouw. Now this is starting to get a little more serious, since we don’t have anyone to cover lock and tight flank off the bench. Let’s discuss this together with…
Problem 4: No Andries Bekker. Is this really a problem at all? I don’t think so.
Anyway, my simple solution to the above problems is drop Juan Smith to the bench where he can cover both lock and tight flank, while moving Pierre Spies to 7 and elevating Ryan Kankowski to the starting lineup. You then need to bring another loosie onto the bench, so why not give Jean Deysel or maybe even Duane Vermeulen a run, since both are in such good form?
Problem 5: No Jean de Villiers (potentially). Bring in Jacque Fourie and move Adi Jacobs to inside centre. Wynand Olivier onto the bench.
Potential Problem 6: No Fourie du Preez. In this case, there’s no option but to start with Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf and let Morné Steyn play flyhalf. Not what I’d choose to do, but if needs must. It’s better than getting the pie-eating mechanic back into the side, that’s for sure.
So, assuming problems 1-5 eventuate, while problem 6 does not, here’s my super-charged Bok 22 for the third test:
1 Beast Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 3 John Smit (capt), 4 Johann Muller, 5 Victor Matfield, 6 Hein Brüssow, 7 Pierre Spies, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 9 Fourie du Preez, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 11 Bryan Haban, 12 Adrian Jacobs, 13 Jacque Fourie, 14 JP Pietersen, 15 Frans Steyn
16 Chilliboy Ralepelle, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Juan Smith, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Janno Vermaak, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Wynand Olivier