Johannesburg – Ruan Pienaar will only be picked at flyhalf for the Springboks again if he can get his goalkicking standard up to that of Morné Steyn. writes JJ Harmse for Sport24
Until that happens, coach Peter de Villiers says he will have to act in the best interests of the team and country and pick Steyn, even if he rates Pienaar highly as a playmaker.
“I still see Ruan as a flyhalf. I think he is a good decision-maker and schemer, and that is how I like my flyhalves,” said De Villiers.
“But Morné kicks like a machine and everybody is surprised when he misses. You can’t ignore that.
“There are reasons for Ruan not reaching his potential this year. These include injuries and the lack of goalkicking opportunities at his union, but as coach I understand now that talent cannot always be the only measure.
“It’s also about your contribution in the team context and in that sense I cannot do without Morné. He is a brilliant goalkicker,” said De Villiers.
De Villiers admitted that he would miss Frans Steyn and Jean de Villiers when he picks his squad of 37 players on 31 October for games against Leicester and Saracens, and Tests against France, Italy and Ireland.
“But they know where they stand. You have to be in the country to make the Bok side. We will get someone to fill in for them,” he said.
“Nobody thought Percy Montgomery and Os du Randt could be replaced. This is an ideal opportunity for two new players to grab their opportunities and take those places.”
De Villiers also provided an insight into his plans for the tour.
“We have to look further than maintaining our number one status because 2011 is just around the corner. That is why a few new faces will make the squad. We have to expose new players to the Bok culture,” he said.
De Villiers refers to Heinrich Brüssow, who toured at the end of last year and played only five minutes in the last Test. He performed well from the outset when he was needed this year.
“We want to show a few players what it means to be a Springbok, but nobody will get a cheap blazer from me. They have to deserve it,” said De Villiers.
His starting line-up for the Test against France on 13 November will not fly out to London with the rest of the touring squad on 2 November.
This group will only join the touring squad on 6 November.
“Those 15 guys will prepare in South Africa for the test against France, but everyone in the 22 for the game against the Leicester Tigers will have a chance of making the substitutes bench for the Test in Toulouse,” said De Villiers.Tweet