Allister Coetzee is reportedly set to backtrack on his selection policy in choosing a team to face France in Paris on Saturday.
It’s been less than one week since the Bok coach explained why Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn were not called up to face Ireland.
Given the restrictions imposed by World Rugby’s official November Test window, the two veterans would only have been able to join up with the Boks on Monday last week.
“I learned last year how important continuity and team culture is,” Coetzee told Netwerk24 last week. “To have enough time to prepare is critical in Test Rugby. Players may be world-class but need more than a Test week to get involved.”
In the wake of South Africa’s biggest loss against Ireland, Coetzee hastily added Vermeulen who parachuted into the Bok camp on Monday night. And now, according to sarugbymag.co.za, Vermeulen is set to start at No 8 against France.
This suggests that Coetzee either hasn’t learnt the lesson about continuity provided by 2016, the worst season in Bok history; that he was wrong about one week not being enough time to “get involved”; or that an under-prepared, world-class player is more value than a mediocre talent that has been in the squad for months.
With Pieter-Steph du Toit ruled out with a concussion, the Bok back row is expected to feature Vermeulen at No 8, a return to openside flanker for Francois Louw and Siya Kolisi on the blindside.
Wilco Louw has also been tagged as the likely beneficiary of tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen’s season-ending knee injury.