Saturday, the Springboks’ resurgence will be put to the ultimate test when we take on the old foe, New Zealand, and I am afraid to say that it’s not going to be nearly as close as we hope it will.
The Springboks 2017 season is already street blocks ahead of the 2016 efforts; we’ve won 5 on the bounce and drawn one. We’ve shown fight, been a bit more tactical and our defence has improved tremendously.
But in my opinion – we still suck at picking a winning team and I expect these indiscretions to be punished in no uncertain terms on Saturday in Albany.
This is who I’d pick to beat the All Blacks.
Let’s start with the forwards.
I think our tight 5 are solid and I don’t have many gripes there. I think Marx has been great, Beast has been solid and Kitsie has made a massive impact when coming off the bench. Likewise for Mostert, Etzebeth and PSDT.
In the loosies however, the wheels start to come off.
I think Cassiem is an above average Super Rugby flank yet he gets picked at number 8 at international level. Hmm? Then there is Jaco Kriel and for all his talents – unless he is picked as an out and out fetcher – we’d do better to pick someone who offers us size, strength and defensive prowess like JD Du Preez. The All Blacks have Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita who need to be stopped in their tracks.
Beast Mtawarira, Malcom Marx, Coenie Oostuizen, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi, JL Du Preez, Dan Du Preez
The backline is where we look particularly vulnerable.
Ross, Elton and Jan all deserve their spots and while Jantjies was iffy against Australia – he is the form flyhallf in the country at the moment. Both of our wings and our outside centre however are not yet complete enough for rugby at this level. Both Rhule and Skosan are inept on defence, and under the high ball while Jessie Kriel is a retreaded fullback playing in the all important 13 channel – and it shows.
I am also not convinced about Coetzee at international level – he was a standout in Super Rugby but international full back is a different kettle of fish.
Elton’s defence still has a long way to go and if Pollard can get fit and healthy, we may find that Pollard offers us more at Springbok level.
It really is a joke that Combrink is not in the squad while I think someone like Mapimpi or Nkosi could also easily be picked in the starting 15.
Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Ruan Combrink, Jan Serfontein, Francois Venter, Sibusiso Nkosi, Jesse Kriel
The complete XV:
Beast Mtawarira, Malcom Marx, Coenie Oostuizen, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi, JL Du Preez, Dan Du Preez, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Ruan Combrink, Jan Serfontein, Francois Venter, Sibusiso Nkosi, Jesse Kriel
There you have it, folks – a Springbok team capable of beating the All Blacks. Where does that leave us for this Saturday? I say, All Blacks by 20 – at least.
What’s your thoughts? Hit us with a comment below or a tweet @leftbacks.