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The predictable Bok team for the Ireland clash.

WRITTEN BY THE EDITOR ON NOVEMBER 09, 2017. POSTED IN SPORTS

The Boks start their end of year tour with perhaps their most difficult match of the month, that is the clash versus Ireland.

And for it, this is the team selected.

1: Tendai Mtawarira

2: Malcom Marx

3: Coenie Oosthuizen

4: Eben Etzebeth (c)

5: Lood de Jager

6: Siya Kolisi

7: Pieter-Steph Du Toit

8: Francois Louw

9: Ross Cronje

10: Elton Jantjies

11: Courtnall Skosan

12: Damian De Allende

13: Jesse Kriel

14: Dillyn Leyds

15: Andries Coetzee

Replacements:

16: Bongi Mbonambi 17: Steven Kitshoff 18: Wilco Louw 19: Franco Mostert 20: Uzair Cassiem 21: Rudy Paige 22: Handre Pollard 23: Francois Venter

To be expected really. Much temptation for change in the backline, but it has been resisted, and with Beast and Coenie fresh and rested they have come in at the expense of their younger counterparts. 

The general feeling around this team is not a good one though. Most believe there are some better players that need a run in the backline, and I tend to agree with these sentiments.

In fact, I will go as far to say as this team will probably not be good enough to beat an Irish team that will be well organised and fired up.

Let's look past this match then, and have a think about what Allister Coetzee should be trying in the remaining matches on this tour.

November 18 - vs France

November 25 - vs Italy

December 2 - vs Wales

As much as I don't think the Boks will beat Ireland, I really really hope they do because then Coetzee can experiment a little selection wise. And if that were to happen, here are the key areas:

1: Tendai Mtawarira

Beast's experience keeps him here unless he really goes off the boil. Kitshoff could start for pretty much any team right now, so the loose head stocks are looking solid right now.

2: Malcom Marx

You get Malcom Marx, then a few light years, then a moment of contemplation, then you get the other hookers in the squad. We all collectively pray to Naas Botha that he never breaks down.

3: Coenie Oosthuizen

Coenie's experience keeps him here unless he really goes off the boil. Wilco Louw could start for pretty much any team right now, so the tight head stocks are looking solid right now.

4: Eben Etzebeth (c)

Captain and pillar of strength this team is built around. Same as Marx, you hope he doesn't break down.

5: Lood de Jager

He has become the go-to no.5 which puts him ahead of some real quality players. He never really has to play 80 minutes and can always be coupled with Franco Mostert. With this understanding, a solid 60 minutes from Lood can add a great deal to an already impressive tight 5.

6: Siya Kolisi

Kolisi keeps going from strength to strength, and has shown he can be a seriously good open sider that adds great ball carrying credentials. Francois Louw can also naturally play here, but without a proper 8th man in the squad of international level, that looks to be his new role.

7: Pieter-Steph Du Toit

 He was a flop in this position this time last year, as he was in the World Cup against Japan. But he was a great success against the All Blacks, and that warrants another go here as Coetzee looks to stengthen the set piece game. No Jean-Luc Du Preez in the squad also means he is very much needed to shine on the blind side flank.

8: Francois Louw

 Dan Du Preez is in the squad, and he is more than decent in the position. But Coetzee will probably back Uzair Cassium if anyone else is going to wear the no.8 jersey. With that in mind, Louw can stay there and be the glue of this loose trio.

The forward pack is looking good then, now we move to the backs.

9: Ross Cronje

The scrumhalf stocks in SA aren't great right now, so you could literally take your pick and I don't think will gain or lose much. All depends on the flyhalf really. If Jantjies plays you go with Cronje. If Pollard plays, you may believe Paige should crack the nod. Either way, it's a weak link in the mix, so much so I'm just as keen to see Louis Schreuder make a debut at any stage.

10: Elton Jantjies

I know it's not the popular stance (still), but I think I have seen enough of Elton Jantjies in this team. Not because he isn't talented and capable, but because I don't think him and Allister Coetzee will ever gel strategically. They didn't at the Stormers, and haven't really here either. This Bok team needs a flyhalf that can play a direct game and take it to the line so to speak. It's as simple as that, and Handre Pollard needs to be given a run considering he is now fully fit again.

11: Courtnall Skosan

Loads of speed, but questionable application at this level. The back three have been weak this season for the Boks, and Skosan proved this in that thrashing to the All Blacks in Albany where he miraculously didn't get near a tackle. Warrick Gallant is an exciting player, he could play on the wing if he isn't getting used at fullback. Simple as that.

12: Damian De Allende

By virtue of the fact there is nobody else at 12, De Allende is back in the mix and many people are upset about this. I on the other hand am quietly confident that he can find some form again and be a benefit to this team. If not, and he has a howler against Ireland, then Francois Venter could slot in here, though like all the other centres in this squad, 13 would be better for him.

13: Jesse Kriel

Jesse Kriel has played a great deal at 13 for the Boks when you consider his age, and many are still hugely uninspired by his presence. With Pollard at flyhalf I think he can be more influencial, but that is nothing more than a personal belief. Bigger picture I think Lukhanyo Am needs to get a go in the 13 jersey. There is something hugely exciting there, and I reckon he could be a big player at this level.

14: Dillyn Leyds

Just like Skosan, you feel we have a provincial player playing international rugby here. Leyds is the best out of the questionable Skosan/Rhule/Leyds axis, and his place in this team isn't a complete disaster. But should he be above Jesse Kriel? Jesse Kriel is a good rugby player, and as someone who is comfortable at fullback, he could do the job on the wing. Otherwise revert back to giving Gallant a go.

15: Andries Coetzee

Is having the same last name as the coach keeping him in this team? Because after so many chances in the 15 jersey, that's the best I can offer as to why Andries is still there. Alternatives? Warrick Gallant, Curwin Bosch, even Dylan Leyds and Jesse Kriel. So many options, and so many better alternatives than a guy who will tick boxes at best. The bold call is Curwin Bosch, defensively there are frailties, but this guy is destined for big things, and he is better than Andries Coetzee.

So going forward, these alternatives need to be exercised. Not just to best utilise the squad, but to really try find the best backline, as it currently isn't close to that.

 

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Tags: springboks, springbok team, allister coetzee, ire vs sa, test match rugby, irish rugby, dublin

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