Due to Bongi Mbonambi being out injured for 4 weeks, the Boks are only taking one hooker that is comfortable throwing into a lineout under pressure on their tour to Australia and Argentina. Additionally the third hooker is a very good flank who used to be a very poor hooker in his early career. Just madness from Jacques Nienaber – since the lineout and maul forms such a large component of the Bok game plan.
I believe Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn have both been some of the greatest Boks of all times, but it is really time to let them retire in peace. Honestly it would serve the Boks better to have players like Evan Roos and Aphelele Fassi being part of the Bok squad.
As a Shark supporter though I would rather have Grant Williams, Thomas du Toit and Aphelele Fassi preparing for the upcoming URC season than carrying tackle bags for the Boks.
I know the Bok strategy is if plan A does not work then just try harder. The kick and chase can be a great weapon (if the other team struggles to handle the kicks) but it can also just turn over the ball unnecessarily to the other team if the team does handle it well. Kicking the ball to the All Blacks in Mbombela worked wonders. Kicking the ball to the All Blacks at Ellis Park a week later on average costed us dearly. The Boks really need to tweak their plan during a match if it does not work.
After Ellis Park the midfield pairing I would like to see for the Boks is Willemse at 12, Am at 13 and De Allende at wing. I know Am did wonders deputizing at wing, but most of those came from broken play. Am at 13 because defensively that is one of the most difficult positions to defend from against a set move. Am is also the man that organizes the back line defense – doing that from 14 is more difficult.
However I think having Willemse and Am next to each other on attack would cause more difficulty for opposing defenses. Both can manufacture a midfield break through clever angles and sleigh of hand – so the defense will have to watch both players.
Props: Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Wasps), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Ox Nche (Sharks), Trevor Nyakane (Racing 92)
Hookers: Joseph Dweba (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears)
Locks: Eben Etzebeth (Sharks), Lood de Jager (Wild Knights), Salmaan Moerat (Stormers)
Loose forwards: Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz), Siya Kolisi (Sharks), Elrigh Louw (Bulls), Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs), Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers), Duane Vermeulen (Ulster)
Utility forwards: Deon Fourie (Stormers), Franco Mostert (Honda Heat)
Scrumhalves: Faf de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Jaden Hendrikse (Sharks), Herschel Jantjies ( Stormers), Cobus Reinach (Montpellier)
Flyhalves: Elton Jantjies (NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes), Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers)
Midfielders: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Damian de Allende (Wild Knights), Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins)
Outside backs: Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz), Canan Moodie (Bulls), Warrick Gelant (Racing 92)
Utility Backs: Damian Willemse (Stormers), Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles), Frans Steyn (Cheetahs)