Tue 28 Jun 2022 | 04:09

Bok coach grilled over Roos and Pollard omissions

Bok coach grilled over Roos and Pollard omissions
Tue 28 Jun 2022 | 04:09
Bok coach grilled over Roos and Pollard omissions
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REACTION: Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber had some explaining to do after he revealed his team for Saturday’s first Test against Wales.

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Nienaber revealed a largely settled and predictable line-up with only two uncapped players in the form of lock Salmaan Moerat and loose forward Elrigh Louw included on the bench.

There have been plenty of calls from fans and pundits for more United Rugby Championship stars to be included in the team, but Nienaber is playing it safe for his team’s season opener.

One of those players is Stormers No.8 Evan Roos, who was crowned the URC’s best player.

The 22-year-old didn’t even make the bench for Saturday’s match and his name was obviously mentioned by reporters during Nienaber’s press conference on Tuesday.

With Pieter-Steph du Toit ruled out, many believed there was a chance he could have maybe filled the blindside role in the team or even his preferred position at No.8

“There are certain boxes we want to tick,” Nienaber told reporters.

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“We got a big plan in our head. I think the team that we selected this week ticks the boxes in terms of balance.

“It is the best team we could have picked for those specific reasons.”

On Roos, Nienaber added: “Evan is such a talented player.

“I’ve only seen him play at No.8.

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“However, I think if we play him at No.7, he will play there. If we pick him at lock, he will play at lock.

“He is such a talented player with such a good skill set.

“When the opportunity comes, he will take it. It doesn’t matter what position it is.”

The story continues below…

It could be hard for Roos to get the No.8 jersey from Jasper Wiese as the Bok coach is looking to mould the Leicester Tigers’ star into Duane Vermeulen’s primary successor.

“Jasper is a project. He only has 11 caps now and if you think of a long-term plan to take players to a World Cup, we would like him to have more international caps to his him and this is one of those opportunities.

“We do performance analysis on every single player that is in the squad.

“He has been performing quite well for Leicester and also with the things we want him to perform in.

“He is not the finished project yet like a lot of these players.

“The things that we would like them to achieve is not necessarily playing in a Test match, but they also got a role to play when they are not in the Test match.”

Meanwhile, Nienaber was also questioned over Handre Pollard’s omission as he has been with the squad since Sunday after winning the Top 14 title with Montpellier.

Elton Jantjies has been given the No.10 jersey for Saturday’s match with no recognised flyhalf cover on the bench.

However, Damian Willemse, who will be wearing the No.15 jersey, can cover No.10.

“We want to select people who we coached during the week,” said the Springbok coach.

“Let’s say we haven’t coached a certain guy on Monday and we coached someone else. We just feel that the coaching that we do with the latter puts him in a better position.

“I don’t think there is anything sinister.”

@rugby365com

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