Kriel out, now what?

With the Boks having lost outside centre Jesse Kriel to concussion, Zelim Nel and Tank Lanning weigh in on the debate as to how best to solve this latest conundrum.

Zelím says: Keep it simple, stupid. Frans Steyn in, Jan Serfontein to outside centre.

Why are we even talking about this? It’s a misnomer why Frans Steyn and/or Francois Hougaard didn’t start in Pretoria. Why bring these two stalwarts back from Europe only to bench them for lesser established options?

I know, I know – I shouldn’t be trying to use logic or reason to explain Springbok selections, but seriously…

Jesse Kriel’s withdrawal now gives Allister Coetzee a no-brainer opportunity to fix that oversight without bumbling spin.

With 54 Test caps, Steyn is the third-most capped player in the Springbok squad. He’s a World Cup winner, he weighs in at “110kgs”, and he’s back from five seasons in the Top 14 where he competed against the players who will line up for France on Saturday.

That means he will not only radically increase the size and experience in the Bok backline, but he’ll have specific intell on Les Bleus.

The bonus ball is that he kicks like a mule which will take some of the heat off of Ross Cronje (who kicked all of two times at Loftus), Hougaard (yet to calibrate the sights on his hunting boot) and Elton Jantjies.

And then there’s Serfontein who some believe is better suited to the No 13 jersey which he wore when the Boks won at Twickenham in 2014.

There has been talk of promoting Lionel Mapoe from outside the matchday squad directly into the vacancy, but he was less impressive than wet fireworks for the Boks last year.

Start Steyn, bump Serfontein outside and promote Mapoe to the bench.


Tank says: The Boks are quite clearly on a red and white bus singing the Lion King Theme tune – and it worked out pretty well in Pretoria – so why change tack?

Lionel Mapoe is the obvious replacement for Jesse Kriel.

The other options are to bring in Frans Steyn at 12, or Francois Venter at 13. The latter has not been part of the Bok squad this year, while the former requires a double switch, and robs the Boks of a fantastic impact player who can cover multiple positions on the bench.

And to be honest, with the Boks set to continue with a kicking game onto a French side with a penetration rate similar to my alcoholic 84 year old grandfather missing his Viagra tabs, all the Boks are looking for is someone who can chase and tackle.

Mapoe has made 76 of the 92 tackles asked of him in Super Rugby, with 4 of them being dominant. Similar numbers to Kriel, and better than Serfontein (44 out of 60).

With 7 tackle breaks and 11 offloads, if and when the Boks do decide to strike, he is the man who could be used to bring Skosan and Rhule into the game a little more.

His selection would also then free Allister Coetzee up to make a change at loose forward, where I would move Siya Kolisi to 7 and bring in Jaco Kriel in as the ball of muscle at 6. Kriel is not an out and out fetcher, but then neither are Kolisi or Oupa Mohoje, and Kriel gives the trio a better balance.

Weird when a midfield selection can affect the loose forwards, but that is the tightrope coach Coetzee walks as SA Rugby try and right the wrongs of the past while in the political spotlight.

Disagree? Agree? Think the two of them should be in strait jackets at some nut farm? Have your say in the comments section below. Let the banter flow people …

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Gerhard Coetzee

    It was very painful for me to watch the U 20 Bokkies loose to England and in particular I feel for the forwards who did more than what was expected of them.The forwards gave their everything and had the upper hand over England in all the tight phases scrums and line outs,However the back line players loss this match for the Bokkies rather than England winning the game.In particular with 15 minutes left in the game the Bokkies forwards won good ball which the back line kicked away and a few kicks was kicked out direct by Libok (who is very talented,but had a bad game) and Bosh also kicked out a few on the full.Most of thee back line players kicked the ball which the forwards won,which was very disappointing in particular because they are very talented.There was so many opportunities with the Bokkies ahead on points and then kicking away the ball and loose position.During the last 15 minutes the forwards turned over at least 3 to 5 balls which the backline kicked away.I could not understand this tacttick and why thee coaches did not guide them as this was a game to be won.The backline with so many talent was a dissapointment and I was expecting thaat Bosch with so many talent wouldd have closed the game out and dictated during that last 10 to minutes.I thick that he must be not be pushed to fast with the Springboks,but first get some more experience at that level.I realt felt for the forwards with the captain haven tears in his eyes after the wishle.THis shoukdd haave been their game.

  • Sharky

    I reckon Steyn at 12 and Venter at 13 is our best available midfield pairing (with Janse van Rensburg and Am being my first choice). That being the case I’m 100% sure that AC will select Mapoe to 13 while keeping Serfontein at 12.

    And for the grammar Nazi’s out there: yes, Zelím’s use of the term “misnomer” is indeed a misnomer.

  • Craig De Villiers

    I agree with Tank you have to play Mapoe because Beast & Oupa need to be replaced worst players on the field so to keep govt happy you have mo choice

  • Wynand Potgieter

    Completely of topic and not to be a negative Nelly, but have you 2 ever agreed on anything rugby related?

    • Zelim Nel Zelim Nel

      HAHA! Unfortunately my memory doesn’t go back that far, Wynand! ;)

  • Andrew Mortimer

    Would love to see a combination of Steyn and Mapoe, then as Tank says AC would be free to pick Jaco “the best flank in the country” Kriel.
    Very excited to see how the A side goes on Friday.

  • Mark

    Mapoe is not good on Defence

  • Sydney Verhoog

    SA rugby will only reach the expected heights when politicians stand back and allow the administrators and management to do their jobs. Pick the best players on merit and there will be a glimmer of hope against teams like the All Blacks.

Comments are closed.