Ruan Botha was called up to replace Jean-Luc du Preez in the Springbok squad for the imminent tour of Europe – the All Out Rugby team thinks there were at least two better options.
Zelím Nel says – Trokkie
Who, oh who, could Allister Coetzee possibly have called up to fill in for Du Preez? I mean, the Boks lost a young, invincible, 113kg eighthman, a real gain-line thumper… those don’t just grow on trees, anymore.
Per minute of playing time, Du Preez has been the Springboks’ most valuable forward in 2017. His hulking frame and direct playing style has restored some respectability to a pool of South African loose forwards that would probably lose a beatdown against New Zealand’s pool of wingers.
But the 22-year-old snapped his ankle in the Currie Cup final and is offline until 2018. Mmmm… such a tough, tough dilemma finding a replacement. “I know,” said Coetzee. “Sharks lock Ruan Botha!”
Imagine calling up the country’s fifth-best lock to replace a ball-carrying loose forward when the best U20 player in the world is a rampaging South African No 8?
That’s right folks, Juarno Augustus will be flicking the Frisbee to his mates on Camps Bay beach later this month instead of cutting his teeth in Test rugby.
The kid is a beast; a 1.85m-116kg slab of momentum. As his nickname suggests, he’s mastered the art of trucking tacklers at the point of contact and folding runners like a dinner napkin.
While South Africa’s lineout was the most prolific in the Rugby Championship, only Argentina gained fewer metres per carry. Surely Augustus would have been a better add?
Tank Lanning says – Harold Vorster
Bring out the straight jacket, I hear you say! While I would not begrudge you that option, given the seriously left-field suggestion, I am using this forum to fix what I believe to be the position most understaffed in Allister Coetzee’s EOYT squad.
We lose Jan Serfontein, arguably the most effective Bok backline player, and replace him with Damian de Allende, who made one carry in the 48 minutes allotted to him in the Rugby Champs. And alongside De Allende, we have two outside centres in Lucky Am and Francois Venter, while in Jesse Kriel we have a fullback/wing who has struggled for the Boks.
I quite like the Ruan Botha selection. To my mind it was between him and WP’s JD Schickerling, a call-up for either suggesting Pieter-Steph du Toit gets an extended run on the side of the scrum. A move I support given that we actually do not have a like-for-like thumper of a blindside flanker out there right now.
It’s a fairly controversial move that comes with some real risk, though, so given that Du Preez’s absence still leaves nine guys covering the lock/loose forward positions, why not plug a real hole in the squad with the truly classy 24-year-old, Phalaborwa-born, 94kg, 1.86m midfielder who started life as an inside centre.
Prior to the WP vs Lions Currie Cup game, I was shooting the breeze with Stormers coach Rob Fleck (also a former Bok centre) as we watched our laaitjies battle it out on the cricket pitch.
“Okes need to watch out for that beast Janse van Rensburg,” I said.
“Naaah,” said Fleck. “Okes need to watch out for Vorster.”