Richard Ferguson

Bok selection countdown – Back three


Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks on 24 May 2012 at 09:30
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The Springboks host the English in a three test series in just over two weeks, and while the men that will be wearing the Green and Gold still battle it out on the Super Rugby scene, we can look ahead to an imminent squad announcement.

The last in our series of articles looking at potential Springbok selections by the new coach in charge, Heyneke Meyer, we turn our attention to the back three, the two wingers and the fullback.

We start by looking at the fast men, and Meyer is spoilt for choice in his wing stock at the moment. The question is what his approach will be to selecting his wings. Will he simply go for the on-form flyers, will he be looking to experienced men out wide or will he simply go for the tried and tested, and give the same players that played at the World Cup the jerseys?

For Heyneke to decide which wingers he wants, he will have to choose them in line with what his game plan will be. If he goes for an all-out attack approach, wingers like JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo and Gio Aplon come to mind. Should he wish to employ a kicking game, similar to what the Bulls do, someone like Bjorn Basson will be the ideal candidate. Should the coach go for forward domination, and wanting to select steady hands at the back, the Ndungane brothers and Bryan Habana come to mind. So as you can see, there are a host of players at Meyer’s disposal.

Meyer said soon after his appointment that he will be playing winning rugby, and what exactly that means in terms of game plan and approach, nobody but he himself knows. One thing that is certain though, is that JP Pietersen is a must, whichever plan he chooses. Pietersen, even though he played much of the season so far in the midfield, is a great defender out wide, is good under the high ball since he has seen some time at fullback, and has experience by the bucketload. He also has a burst of speed and is difficult to bring down, should he join the line closer to the breakdown.

Who exactly the other wing will be, we will have to wait for that, but I suspect Meyer will go for Bryan Habana, who has been in decent form so far this season, he comes from within a winning culture at the Stormers, and his eye for an opportunist try counts in his favour. His work rate is also one of the higher rates amongst wingers in South Africa.

Other who could find themselves in the squad are as mentioned above, Bjorn Basson or Lwazi Mvovo, and potentially even one or both of the Ndungane brothers. Gio Aplon could also feature thanks to his ability to fill in at fullback as well.

Moving on to the fullbacks, things dry up a little, as there are no real strong contenders in the position. Zane Kirchner has played a few tests at the back for the Boks, but he is nothing more than solid. His boot might be his saving grace at altitude, but he is limited in terms of both pace and ability to join the line effectively.

Joe Pietersen has had a good season for the Stormers, in terms of solidity at the back, where he is fearless on attack and defence, as well as having the pace of a winger on the counter. His kicking boot as backup to Morne Steyn is another factor that counts in his favour, but he is tiny in stature, and could come undone against the bigger English backs.

The Sharks have two solid fullbacks in Louis Ludik and Riaan Viljoen, but both have numerous factors counting against their inclusion in the Bok squad. Ludik may be solid and consistent, but has his failings in terms of a lack of a kicking boot. Viljoen could have walked into the Bok team had he continued in the form that he showed at the start of the season, but he somewhere fell off the bus, and his inconsistency is a huge factor. He plays much like Frans Steyn in that they will balance the great play with the mediocre.

In Jaco Taute we have a future star in the making, but he has been shifted all over the backline at the Lions, and has been playing in the 12/13 jersey for the last month, if not longer. He may be worth having a look at, in terms of long term planning, but whether he is ready for the step up to International rugby remains to be seen.

There are two more options, but both would entail playing a player out of position. Frans Steyn has been at the back for the Boks, and we all know he can do the job. He is a fantastic tackler, has an eye for a gap and some speed as well, with his massive boot being a huge plus point. The only factor that counts against this is the fact that he does not want to play fullback, and that he is slightly inconsistent, in having moments of brilliance thrown in with moments of ridicule.

The last option would be to play the young Pat Lambie at fullback. He has not seen much time as the last line of defence this season, with a few minutes at the end of every other game for the Sharks not really testament to what he can do from the back. He played there with great aptitude during the World Cup last year, and is an X-factor player, adding more than just his rugby playing talents to the team setup.

Heyneke Meyer has a few tough decisions to make before he announces his first team of his Bok coaching career, and I do not envy his position at all.

Meyer’s probable picks:
11.Bryan Habana
14.JP Pietersen
15.Joe Pietersen
22.Gio Aplon

Ferguson’s form picks:
11.Bryan Habana
14.JP Pietersen
15.Frans Steyn
22.Pat Lambie



84 Comments

  • Don’t think Taute has been playing at 12 for a month already. Only recently. Played most games at 13 if I’m not mistaken. :???:

  • Comment 1, posted at 24.05.12 09:45:21 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 1) :

    Correct, it was meant to be 12/13

  • Comment 2, posted at 24.05.12 09:52:21 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 2) : :cool:

  • Comment 3, posted at 24.05.12 09:53:29 by Ben Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 2) : I like him more at 15 though..

  • Comment 4, posted at 24.05.12 09:54:08 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 4) :

    Agreed.. he doesn’t have the same impact in midfield..

    He is more dangerous on the counter and by hitting it up through the line..

  • Comment 5, posted at 24.05.12 09:54:59 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 5) : Yes and very dangerous when he has some space to move in.

  • Comment 6, posted at 24.05.12 09:56:25 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 6) : And a very big boot from the back.

  • Comment 7, posted at 24.05.12 09:57:02 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 1) :

    Yes that is correct

  • Comment 8, posted at 24.05.12 10:07:10 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Rich, interesting to see Frans as your form pick on 15…eleborate on your decision to have him there and not rather on 12?

  • Comment 9, posted at 24.05.12 10:10:03 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 9) : His ego is too big and he simply won’t fit in between the 10 and 13. He needs loads of space at the back for his ego to breathe. :lol:

    That’s just a joke folks..

  • Comment 10, posted at 24.05.12 10:15:54 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 10) : LOL, silly child! I’ll have to give you a snotklap next time I see you!

    Reason why I want to know is that (as far as I know) Frans has only played 12 since RWC, so we cannot really make a decision on him at FB, as he has not played there in some time.

  • Comment 11, posted at 24.05.12 10:21:35 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 9) :

    A lot of factors went into that..

    1. He has to be in the team somewhere, so that is a must..

    2. At centre, we have better form players, we don’t know the shape of form of Steyn at centre.

    3. We have a lack of good fullbacks, and I don’t like the idea of Lambie at the back, as I think he is a much better flyhalf. Steyn from the back is great for him, he has a huge boot, his defence is sound, and he can be creative from the back. Closer to the ball he seems to make more errors, having those brainfart moments more often..

    Just my opinion though..

  • Comment 12, posted at 24.05.12 10:22:33 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 11) :

    Then we must apply that logic to the Pat situation.

    (Note – this was written very early this morning before Pat was selected at fullback for the Sharks, but at the time, Pat had very little time at fullback, and I want Pat to be a flyhalf for the Boks and not a fullback.)

  • Comment 13, posted at 24.05.12 10:23:59 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 12) : Frans has last played at 15 for the Boks in the Tri-Nations last year, and did not really set the world alight. I rate him more as a 12

    I have a feeling Lambie will be at 15 – he is the Bok incumbent after all.

  • Comment 14, posted at 24.05.12 10:29:01 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) : Steyn actually played at 15 in the WC until JdV got injured.

  • Comment 15, posted at 24.05.12 10:30:57 by Ben Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 13) : I was just about to say the same! LOL

    In all honesty, I understand your reason behind the selection, but because of that Meyer Voëltjie in the back of my head, and the fact that FS has played a great few games last year at 12, it was a strange call for me.

    Anyhow, I’d rather have Lambs in the squad at FB, than not at all!

  • Comment 16, posted at 24.05.12 10:31:40 by Ice Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 14) :

    Steyn was fullback at the World Cup??

    And according to most on this site, he set the world alight, being the best Bok there etc etc etc…

  • Comment 17, posted at 24.05.12 10:34:31 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 15) :

    I really should read on before commenting..

  • Comment 18, posted at 24.05.12 10:34:53 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 16) :

    So now you know, I don’t just make shit up as I go along, there is an actual thought process ;-)

  • Comment 19, posted at 24.05.12 10:35:37 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : :lol:

  • Comment 20, posted at 24.05.12 10:36:08 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 15) : Ja, but (just my opinion) he did a far better job at 12.

  • Comment 21, posted at 24.05.12 10:36:11 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 21) : No doubt, I do agree..

  • Comment 22, posted at 24.05.12 10:37:55 by Ben Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 19) : How much wine did you use in that thinking scrum and for creativity purposes? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 23, posted at 24.05.12 10:38:24 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 22) : :shock: knock me over with a feather! Can I PLEASE hear that one more time..? :twisted:

  • Comment 24, posted at 24.05.12 10:40:48 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 23) :

    Whiskey is my thinking juice of choice..

    But in this case, it was a cuppa coffee and two myprodols ;-)

  • Comment 25, posted at 24.05.12 10:41:23 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 24) : :roll: ;)

  • Comment 26, posted at 24.05.12 10:42:37 by Ben Reply

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  • As far as I recall we played the last game with Lambie at 15 and JDV at 12.

  • Comment 27, posted at 24.05.12 10:42:52 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 27) :

    Yes, because Steyn was injured, after playing at 12, after starting the World Cup at 15..

    Do we need to draw a picture?

  • Comment 28, posted at 24.05.12 10:43:58 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 27) : Yes Steyn got injured..

  • Comment 29, posted at 24.05.12 10:44:12 by Ben Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 28) : Oops.

  • Comment 30, posted at 24.05.12 10:44:48 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 30) :

    We both seem a bit trigger happy today..

  • Comment 31, posted at 24.05.12 10:45:49 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 31) : Hehe good thing ‘just a fan’ isn’t around. :roll: ;)

  • Comment 32, posted at 24.05.12 10:48:46 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 32) :

    Oh hell, please no..

    Although, she might be on my side this time, for including her love child in my selections..

  • Comment 33, posted at 24.05.12 10:50:00 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • Frans started at 15 against Wales, then moved to 12 until he got injured against Samoa. Lambie started at 15 against Namibia, Fiji, Samoa and Australia.

    So Lambie started 4 games at 15 and Frans 1
    Frans started 3 games at 12

  • Comment 34, posted at 24.05.12 10:50:25 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 34) : So that makes Lambie the incumbent 15 in my mind

  • Comment 35, posted at 24.05.12 10:51:11 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 33) : Don’t think she would appreciate my joke. Refer to comment 10. :)

  • Comment 36, posted at 24.05.12 10:53:28 by Ben Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 33) : Ha! But on the wrong position! WAPA! :lol:

  • Comment 37, posted at 24.05.12 10:55:44 by Ice Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 28) : Yes, do enlighten me with a picture pls

  • Comment 38, posted at 24.05.12 11:00:45 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 38) : DIT wil ek sien! :lol:

  • Comment 39, posted at 24.05.12 11:08:02 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 39) : Ek kan nie wag nie :shock:

  • Comment 40, posted at 24.05.12 11:09:00 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 36) :

    I think your gentleman’s jewels are on the line for that ;-)

  • Comment 41, posted at 24.05.12 11:11:18 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 39) : @Bokhoring (Comment 40) : http://scrum5.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/francois-steyn-2011-09-11-rwc2011-saf-v-wal.jpg :lol:

  • Comment 42, posted at 24.05.12 11:12:16 by Ben Reply

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  • Richard, you make me scratch my head. How do you rate Frans and Pat as your form selections for 15 and 22 when you haven’t seen them there? Perhaps you should call it “Fergusons’s Fantasy Picks”. :shock:

  • Comment 43, posted at 24.05.12 11:15:11 by King Shark Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 42) : Good try – I give you that :lol:

    Except Richard did not draw these

  • Comment 44, posted at 24.05.12 11:15:46 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 44) : Edited. Check again.. :)

  • Comment 45, posted at 24.05.12 11:17:23 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 42) : Issi MOOI kiekie daai!

  • Comment 46, posted at 24.05.12 11:18:55 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 45) : So I was wrong about the Wales game :oops:

    Pat still played more WC games at FB than Frans

  • Comment 47, posted at 24.05.12 11:20:29 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • Forwards: Tendai Mtawarira, Jannie du Plessis Bismarck du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Willem Alberts, Jean Deysel, Ryan Kankowski
     
    Backs: Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo

  • Comment 48, posted at 24.05.12 11:20:37 by GreatSharksays Reply

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  • @King Shark (Comment 43) :

    Well, as I said in an earlier comment, if Frans is to be in my team, fullback is where I prefer him.

    Lambie’s pick puts him as a backup to both 10 and 15, positions he has played, albeit mostly 10, all year so far..

  • Comment 49, posted at 24.05.12 11:21:30 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 44) :

    It was a sarcastic comment dude, FFS…

    @Ben (Comment 42) :

    And thank you, we all knew it happened (well most anyway)

  • Comment 50, posted at 24.05.12 11:22:55 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 50) : So was mine :smile: Peace dude

    I prefer Frans at 12, and you him at 15. Lets agree to disagree

  • Comment 51, posted at 24.05.12 11:27:45 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 47) : Why do you say you were wrong about the Wales game? Steyn did start at 15 as you said earlier.

    The point we are making is that Steyn played at 15 in the WC so the Tri Nations isn’t the last time he played 15 for the Boks.. ;)

  • Comment 52, posted at 24.05.12 11:30:28 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 52) : If he did not play in the Wales game at FB, the Tri-nats would have been the last game he played at 15 in a test. So yes – I forgot about him in the Wales game

    My lasting impression of him in 2011 WC was playing really well at 12 – must have wiped his stint at 15 from my mind

  • Comment 53, posted at 24.05.12 11:33:35 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 53) : But in comment 34 you had it spot on. Or are you referring to before that?

  • Comment 54, posted at 24.05.12 11:35:30 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 54) : Comment 34 was after I went and checked my facts. Sometimes lasting impressions tend to wipe out facts :oops:

  • Comment 55, posted at 24.05.12 11:36:53 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 55) : Okay cool. We are on the same page now.. :cool:

  • Comment 56, posted at 24.05.12 11:38:06 by Ben Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 55) : In fact I can safely (I think) say that Pat has more full back experience than Frans in all World Cups

  • Comment 57, posted at 24.05.12 11:40:21 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • Okay…so it took us from comment 34 to 56 to establish they actually agree…MEN!!! :lol:

  • Comment 58, posted at 24.05.12 11:40:42 by Ice Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 55) : Nothing to be ashamed about really. We all tend to forget once in a while..

  • Comment 59, posted at 24.05.12 11:41:02 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ice (Comment 58) : :lol:

  • Comment 60, posted at 24.05.12 11:42:00 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ice (Comment 58) : That was pretty quick then :smile:

  • Comment 61, posted at 24.05.12 11:44:43 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 61) : Pretty much yes. We could have thrown some more pictures around but instead we got straight to the point! :lol: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 62, posted at 24.05.12 11:47:55 by Ben Reply

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  • @Ben (Comment 62) : :shock:

  • Comment 63, posted at 24.05.12 11:53:26 by Ice Reply
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  • No room for Mvovo then? :sad:

  • Comment 64, posted at 24.05.12 11:53:27 by Letgo Reply
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  • Kirchner for Bok fullback! :twisted:

  • Comment 65, posted at 24.05.12 11:58:06 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 65) : Sies! :evil:

  • Comment 66, posted at 24.05.12 12:13:37 by Ben Reply

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  • Hey Ice, I’ve done a little digging into FS career recently and he’s played a few positions since RWC:

    Top14:
    12 May 2012 – Agen – DNP (25-22 loss)
    5 May 2012 – Stade Francais – DNP (19-13 win)

    21 April 2012 – Biarritz – Fullback (22-13 loss)
    14 April 2012 – Brive – Fullback (40-19 win) – (1 Pen)
    30 March 2012 – Castres – Fullback (27-16 win) – (1 try)
    24 March 2012 – Toulon – Inside Centre (32-20 loss)
    9 March 2012 – Bordeaux Begles – Outside Centre (22-13 win)
    3 March 2012 – Bayonne – Subbed with fullback (22-21 win)
    18 Feb 2012 – Lyon – DNP – (22-33 loss)
    11 Feb 2012 – Clermont – Outside Centre (31-13 win) – (1 try)
    28 Jan 2012 – Toulouse – Inside Centre (13-19 loss)
    7 Jan 2012 – Perpignan – Subbed with wing (14-14 draw)
    injured for the rest or at RWC.

    Heineken Cup (out of 6 games):
    22 Jan 2012 – Cardiff Blues – Outside Centre (36-30 loss) – (2 Pen)
    13 Jan 2012 – Edinburgh – Outside Centre (24-27 loss) – (1 try)
    the rest he was unavailable for.

    In summary, in 11 games:
    3 fullback starts
    2 inside centre starts
    4 outside centre starts
    2 subs

    With the games where he subbed, I’m not sure if the backline was shuffled or not, so he could have played anywhere.

  • Comment 67, posted at 24.05.12 12:19:03 by molly Reply
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  • @molly (Comment 67) : Looks like Dick Muir is coaching this team.

    So I do stand even more corrected then

  • Comment 68, posted at 24.05.12 12:25:35 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @molly (Comment 67) : wow Thanks Mols! Very interesting indeed!

  • Comment 69, posted at 24.05.12 12:28:32 by Ice Reply
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  • Steyn would definitely be my pick for 15. He and JDV have never played 12 and 13 together to my recollection. With such little time to prepare you have to go with established combinations ie JDV and De Jongh. Similarly Steyn has played at the back with Pieterson and Habana on numerous occasions. Long term Steyn at 12 and Taute at 15…
    And of course Lambie at 10, I even play him there next Sat in place of carthourse Morne’ Steyn.

  • Comment 70, posted at 24.05.12 12:47:51 by neilster Reply

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  • @neilster (Comment 70) : If it was me I would have started a backline for first test of:
    Hougaard, Morne, Habana, JDV, Juan, JPP, Lambie with FDP and Frans on the bench
    with the plan of bringing in Frans at 12, Mvovo i.p.o. Habana, Lambie to 10 and maybe Taute to 15

  • Comment 71, posted at 24.05.12 13:05:04 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • Frans at 12, Pat at 15, JP and Habs at wing and Mvovo on the bench.

  • Comment 72, posted at 24.05.12 14:07:53 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 72) : and 13?

  • Comment 73, posted at 24.05.12 14:09:46 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 71) :

    And where exactly would you find Taute? In the stands? Or as a forwards replacement?

  • Comment 74, posted at 24.05.12 14:23:50 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 10) : :lol:

  • Comment 75, posted at 24.05.12 14:26:07 by Franshark Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 74) : I don’t follow?

  • Comment 76, posted at 24.05.12 14:48:29 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 76) :

    You say your team will be:

    9.Hougaard
    10.Steyn
    11.Habana
    12.Jean de Villiers
    13.Juan de Jongh
    14.JP Pietersen
    15.Pat Lambie
    21.Fourie du Preez
    22.Frans Steyn

    So where would you find Taute to bring in at fullback?

  • Comment 77, posted at 24.05.12 14:50:40 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 76) : Obviously not on the bench. I mean bring the guy into the team at some point

  • Comment 78, posted at 24.05.12 14:51:17 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 77) : Neither was Mvovo on my bench

    I am talking about some succession planning for the back line

  • Comment 79, posted at 24.05.12 14:52:02 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 78) :

    Oh I see

  • Comment 80, posted at 24.05.12 14:53:40 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 80) : We do seem to talk past each other today :smile:

  • Comment 81, posted at 24.05.12 14:56:58 by Bokhoring Reply

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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 81) :

    I think so..

    Just made no sense at all..

  • Comment 82, posted at 24.05.12 14:57:37 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Bokhoring (Comment 73) :
    JDV

  • Comment 83, posted at 24.05.12 15:09:19 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Think Lambie will be 15. If Frans does play it will be at 12, i think.

  • Comment 84, posted at 24.05.12 16:25:35 by JJR Reply
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