The Springboks host the English in a three test match series, an event we haven’t seen take place in almost a decade, which kicks off coach Heyneke Meyer’s tenure as coach. The first match takes place at Mr Price Kings Park on 9 June 2012, and we are looking towards the possible selections by Meyer.
The third instalment of our series takes a look at the loose forward trio that will run out in Durban in three weeks’ time. The current injuries to loose forwards have been much publicised, but I will just give a brief summary. The following players are unavailable due to injury:
Two of the above, Juan Smith and Schalk Burger would have, if fit and playing, walked into the Springbok starting line-up and few here would have argued, but alas, both are crocked and neither will be able to play, nevermind lead, the Springboks this time around.
This does leave us with a brand new trio of loose forwards, which if not exciting, is a bit scary. This must be coach Meyer’s biggest headache along with the captaincy, in trying to find the correct combination of balance, form and experience to fill these three positions.
The options and variables are almost unlimited, but there is a certainty in there, or so I would think, in that Heinrich Brüssow will feature at 6. He has been the lone star in an underperforming Cheetahs outfit, we all know what he is capable of and we saw that during the World Cup in New Zealand last year.
Then there is Pierre Spies. He has been playing pretty well, taking his new appointment as captain in his stride and leading a pretty ordinary Bulls squad to the top of the Super Rugby log. He seems set to take his place at the back of the Springbok scrum, and for the first time I can personally agree with this selection, as he will give the pack a load of experience from the back of the scrum.
That leaves us with one more jersey to fill, that of the seven flank. Here we have a whole host of players putting up their hands. We have Dewald Potgieter from the Bulls, who has played in this position for the Boks before, and even though he has been injured, he has the experience.
Then there is Willem Alberts, who proved useful for the Boks at the World Cup last year, but has been off the boil so far this year, struggling to overcome a niggling shoulder injury. Will coach Meyer have faith and play a player purely on reputation, or will he back form over experience.
Speaking of form over experience, two young players have been playing out of their skins, both of which will secretly be hoping for a surprise call up to the Springbok squad. You will all know who I am talking about, Siya Kolisi and Marcell Coetzee. Both players have had amazing seasons for the Stormers and the Sharks respectively thus far, and are clearly both in line to represent the Boks in the not too distant future.
There is one other outside chance, and I particularly like this player purely based on his relentless nature and never say die attitude, which he needs captaining the Lions. I speak of Josh Strauss of course. He has played almost every single game for the Lions at full tilt this year, putting his body on the line in an attempt to get his team to show even half the heart he does. I am not sure what Meyer thinks of Strauss, but I wouldn’t be overly surprised if he somehow squeezes into the squad.
As I said at the start of this article, this is a very tough selection, a selection that could very easily go wrong for the Boks. We can count on the English to really test our loose trio, so these three players will have to play out of their skin, whoever is selected.
Meyer’s probable picks:
20. Marcell Coetzee
Ferguson’s form picks:
6. Heinrich Brüssow