Despite all the hysteria, Peter de Villiers was actually spot on. And as much as it pains me to say so, the only call he got wrong in this latest round of selections was to not drop BJ Botha along with the rest of the so-called foreign “stars”.
Looking back at the Bok performance against Wales in the cold hard light of day, it was pretty close to a dog’s breakfast all round, with very few, outside of Juan de Jongh, Danie Rossouw and Dewald Potgieter, really standing out. While one can overlook a less-than-perfect showing from a debutant such as Gio Aplon or Bjorn Basson, you simply cannot afford to be carrying 50-test veterans like CJ van der Linde and Joe van Niekerk as passengers. Not to say that there weren’t locally-based players who were equally pants – the 90-cap duo of John Smit and Victor Matfield among them – but to my mind, to justify their selections, the overseas guys need to be a cut above what’s available in South Africa and in this case, they were just the opposite.
Let’s all get over Frans Steyn already. He’s actually a pretty kak fullback, if we look past the fact that he occasionally puts over a massive drop-goal or long-range penalty. The countless poor, selfish decisions he takes during the other 78 minutes of the game, to my mind, completely negate these random acts of freakish brilliance. About his only real claim to fame is that he’s a better fullback than Zane Kirchner, but then again, so are Joe Pietersen, Pat Lambie and probably even Riaan Viljoen and at least all three of them are willing to bleed and die for South African sides in the Super 14.
Despite his consistently superb form in provincial rugby, BJ Botha has never quite managed to regularly dominate opposition at international level and this was again the case on Saturday. He has been retained in the squad, I feel, simply as a result of the dearth of tighthead props in the South African game, but should view the upcoming outings against France and Italy as probably his last chance to cement a World Cup place – assuming, that is, he returns to South Africa in time for next year’s Super 15.
But as for van Niekerk and van der Linde, well, I say good riddance, although the latter, at least, will probably still fight his way back into contention now that he’s back in South Africa full-time. As for KES’s finest, well, his biggest contribution to the game was the series of F-bombs he dropped on camera after the game, to the shock and embarrassment of the majority of his team-mates. Cheers, Joe, we have more than enough class loosies in this country and, quite frankly, we simply don’t need you.Tweet