The Springbok coaching side has named a 21-man outfit to take on the Barbarians at Twickenham. It more-or-less sum up their selection approach for this tour. After excelling in the Currie Cup at flyhalf – and deputising there for Morne Steyn on three occasions so far on tour, Pat Lambie is somehow, miraculously, named to start at fullback.
Up front, Coenie Oosthuizen makes his Bok debut alongside Adriaan Strauss and CJ van der Linde in an all-Cheetah front row. Sharks lock Alistair Hargreaves will start in the second row alongside Bakkies Botha, while Willem Alberts is, somewhat perplexingly, picked at open side flank ahead of Keegan Daniel. That Alberts is deserving of a starting spot is not in question – rather, the logic of picking him in such an unfamiliar position against a team who are guaranteed to play a fast-paced game seems backwards. Juan Smith, who captains the side from the other flank and Ryan Kankowski complete the loose trio.
It’s at halfback where the bizarreness shows itself most. Rather than backing Lambie to run the show from flyhalf, along with his provincial team mates Charl McLeod and Andries Strauss on either side, the coaches have opted to start Lions teenager Elton Jantjies at pivot, along with Bulls man Francois Hougaard. Jantjies has played no rugby at all on this tour – in fact, his team’s failure to qualify for the Currie Cup play-offs mean that the last time he played in a rugby match was almost two months ago. Strauss comes in for his first Bok appearance at inside center, with Adi Jacobs, Odwa Ndungane and Lwazi Mvovo completing an all-Sharks three quarter line (although Strauss is now technically a Cheetah).
The unavailability of both du Plessis brothers due to injury has seen a 6-man bench named, so it’s anyone’s guess who will end up occupying the number 18 shirt currently reserved for “AN Other”. Maybe Os du Randt will dust off his togs for one last gallop around the paddock, just for old times’ sake.
Boks to face the Barbarians
15 Pat Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Juan Smith (capt), 6 Willem Alberts, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Gio Aplon.