VIDEO: Dweba 'work-ons' opened the door for Fourie
Joseph Dweba has been instructed to return to the training field and work on the ‘shortcomings’ in his game.
This is the gist of the message by coach Jacques Nienaber, after naming his team for the return Test between South Africa and Australia in Sydney on Saturday.
The team, which shows nine changes to the starting XV from the Springbok side that imploded against the Wallabies last week in Adelaide, has a number of intriguing selections.
One of the more curious selections is one-cap veteran Deon Fourie as a backup hooker on the bench.
Nienaber admitted that the 35-year-old Fourie could play a similar role in France next year that Schalk Brits, then 38, fulfilled for the Boks in their successful 2019 World Cup campaign.
Brits, who started against minnows Namibia (at No.8) and Canada (hooker) in Japan, was a mentor and calming influence in the squad – also adding the utility role.
Nienaber revealed that Fourie, who played only at loose forward for the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship this year, has focused much more on hooker with the national team.
Since joining the Bok squad Fourie, who last year returned from a seven-year stint in France, has focused in equal measures on both loose forward and hooker.
However, that changed suddenly earlier this month.
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“Since the [knee] injury of Bongi [Mbongeni MBonambi], ahead of the second Test against New Zealand, he [Fourie] focused 100 percent on his role as a hooker,” Nienaber said.
“We are familiar and comfortable with him [as a hooker],” the coach added.
Nienaber said Dweba was ‘good value’ in his three Test starts this year – against Wales in Bloemfontein, New Zealand at Ellis Park and Australia in Adelaide last week.
However, in those matches – all three defeats for the Boks – certain shortcomings showed up in his game.
“He has learnt a lot from those games,” the coach said, adding: “There were many positives to take from that.
“There are also many work-ons – [aspects of his game] that must improve.
“This is now Deon’s opportunity,” he said of Fourie’s opportunity to play off the bench.
“I am excited to see what he can bring [to the game] for us.”
Fourie’s Bok debut was as a loose forward replacement in the second Tests against Wales at the Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein, last month.