Get Newsletter

Who do you call on?

With South Africa no longer playing a part in Super Rugby, it is time to start rallying the troops for international portion of the SANZAR rivalry – and Argentina.

The Rugby Championship is the next big showpiece we rugby fans have to look forward to and with the 30-man squad set to be announced on August 2 – it is time to speculate.

We have seen Heyneke Meyer's cards a little in the Tests against Wales, he has got many of his favourites plying their trade for the Springboks much like they have done since 2013.

However, it is the Scotland Test that really saw the coach chuck his card onto the table for all to see.

Meyer made wholesale changes for that one-off game against the weakened Scots, but he also showed us the fresh face of Springbok rugby.

I want to have a look at who Meyer potentially will look to when the Argentineans come knocking in Pretoria on the 16th of August.

15. Fullback

Fullback will be a vital position for the Springboks – not only because of the calibre and class his options posses – but because of the calibre and class the other nations possess.

Israel Folau and Ben Smith for the Wallabies and All Blacks respectively will be massive for their teams.

Their creative spark from the back has set a precedent in fullback play that South Africa can compete with through none other than Willie le Roux.

Le Roux has shown that he is the X-Factor for the Boks with their entire gameplan adapting to allow him the freedom to do whatever the hell he wants.

However, Meyer has sometimes defaulted back to conservatism when Le Roux has had a few moments of madness that cost his team.

Probable: Willie le Roux

Possible: Pat Lambie

Problematic: Zane Kirchner

14. Right Wing

When the first team was announced for the Durban Test against Wales, it was Cornal Hendricks who was the shock inclusion on the right wing.

However, the Cheetahs man did nothing wrong in his first outing and as such retained his place for the rest of the mid-year Tests.

The former Sevens player ticks a lot of boxes for Meyer – he is big (important), quick and abrasive.

Probable: Cornal Hendricks

Possible: Sibusiso Sithole

Problematic: Bjorn Basson

13. Outside centre

Meyer has looked to shake things up in the centres with JP Pietersen slowly becoming the incumbent.

The coach has stuck to his favourite adjectives by calling Pietersen, big (see how important?), quick and abrasive with Pietersen himself confirming that he enjoys playing the centres.

There are a number of possibles for the No.13 jersey, but most of them do not fit the mold for Meyer, this has seen him looking elsewhere.

Probable: JP Pietersen

Possible: Paul Jordaan, Juan de Jongh

Problematic: JJ Engelbrecht, Jaque Fourie

12. Inside centre

This one almost picks itself. Jean de Villiers should be over his knee injury that kept him out of the mid-years Tests and as such will walk back into his favoured position.

More interestingly is the youngsters who lie in wait…

Damian de Allende is another one who will be back from injury and many have said (including Meyer) that he should have been a Bok by now.

However, there is also the matter of Jan Serfontein who looked impressive against the Scots and really came into his own for the Bulls after the international window.

Probable: Jean de Villiers

Possible: Damian de Allende, Jan Serfontein

Problematic: Wynand Olivier, Frans Steyn

11. Left Wing

The man who we are used to seeing with the No. 11 on his back is Bryan Habana and having been released by his French club Toulon – he is a strong contender to continue in that role.

Habana has been in solid form for Toulon and did well for the Boks against Wales, looking hungry for tries.

Probable: Bryan Habana

Possible: Lwazi Mvovo

Problematic: Francois Hougaard

10. Flyhalf

The Springboks have always favoured a classical kicking flyhalf, and they have that in Morne Steyn, but credit where credit is due – he has shown a new edge to his game recently.

Perhaps he is feeling the breath of creative and exiting youngsters like Pat Lambie and Johan Goosen. Perhaps it the ever-roaming Willie le Roux inspiring the pivot to mix things up a little – but what ever it is, it seems that Steyn is likely to keep his place with his expanded gameplay – and maybe that is not a bad thing.

Of course, the biggest talking point at flyhalf is the youngest of the youngsters – IRB Under-20 Player of the year, Handré Pollard.

He has proven himself at the junior ranks, but his step up to the big leagues was seamless. He clearly has a big future, but it will be interesting to see how quickly Meyer rises his star.

Probable: Morne Steyn

Possible: Pat Lambie, Johan Goosen, Marnitz Boshoff, Handré Pollard

Problematic: Ruan Pienaar

9. Scrumhalf

This will be the Springboks biggest weak spots for the Championship with Fourie du Preez set to miss the whole competition.

Waiting in the wings, is a wing – Francois Hougaard and the next senior scrumhalf – Ruan Pienaar.

There are also a number of fringe players that do not fill you with much belief. Louis Schreuder, Jano Vermaak, Piet van Zyl are all in the mix.

There are even possibilities for exciting youngsters such as Cobus Reinach and Francois de Klerk – but can't help feel that Meyer will not be that adventurous

Probable: Ruan Pienaar

Possible: Francois Hougaard, Cobus Reinach, Francois de Klerk

Problematic: Louis Schreuder

8. Eighth-man

Duane Vermeulen is fairly settled in the No.8 role since Pierre Spies dropped away with injury and there does not look to be any  specialist challenger.

There are a number of options that Meyer could play with seeing that the like of Willem Alberts, Schalk Burger, and Teboho Mohojé can all play there should Vermeulen get injured.

Probable: Duane Vermeulen

Possible: Schalk Burger

Problematic: Pierre Spies – if he is ever not injured

7. Blindside Flank

There is big speculation about the potential return of one of the World's greatest No.7s – Juan Smith.

Smith was released from his Toulon should he be selected sparking many pundits to believe the former Cheetahs man may see a return to the Green and Gold.

However, a more likely candidate for the No. 7 jersey will be Willem Alberts who has played the blindside role with aplomb.

Probable: Willem Alberts

Possible: Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Teboho Mohojé, Jean Deysel

Problematic: Siya Kolisi

6. Openside Flank

The role of the fetcher is an important one, but fore Meyer the size of the player seems to be more important.

Francois Louw, who is a sizable forward himself, has made that role his own and has done well in it – but there are challengers out there.

Marcell Coetzee has been impressive and should really have a look in.

Then there is always Heinrich Brüssow…

Probable: Francois Louw

Possible: Marcell Coetzee, Heinrich Brüssow

Problematic: Siya Kolisi, Deon Stegmann

5. Lock

The No. 5 is usually your line-out specialist and as such it is unsurprising that Victor Matfield has occupied that role.

With the return of Jean de Villiers, Matfield relinquishes the captaincy and it could also see him getting less game time.

There are a number of impressive young locks trying to wrestle the crown away from Matfield and it will be interesting to see how much of a role the likes of Stephan Lewies and Pieter-Steph du Toit play.

Probable: Victor Matfield

Possible: Stephan Lewies, Pieter-Steph du Toit

Problematic: Juandré Kruger

4. Lock

The No. 4 role is one doe the enforcers. It has seen the likes of Bakkies Botha, Flip van der Merwe, Lodewyk de Jager and Pieter-Steph du Toit of late.

However, Botha should not be seen as a starter so it looks like if Meyer wants some experience it should be Flip van der Merwe wearing the No.4.

Of course there is the massive Eben Etzebeth who should be back in time for the tournament.

Probable: Flip van der Merwe

Possible: Bakkies Botha,  Lodewyk de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth

Problematic: Franco van der Merwe

3. Tighthead prop

There is no real chance of wrestling the No. 3 jumper from Jannie du Plessis, although he certainly could use the rest.

Meyer has looked to bring through a number of young props, and it seems that most of them are tightheads…

Probable: Jannie du Plessis

Possible: Marcel van der Merwe, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Frans Malherbe

Problematic: Lourens Adriaanse

2. Hooker

Once again, it seems the brothers Du Plessis have their respective positions sewed up with Bismarck a necessity in the forwards for the Boks.

Former Cheetah, Adriaan Strauss, has deputized for Du Plessis long enough and should definitely be in the mix.

Probable: Bismarck du Plessis

Possible: Adriaan Strauss, Schalk Britz, Craig Burden

Problematic: Callie Visagie

1. Loosehead Prop

This is another position that is very settled with Tendai Mtawarira usually found here, however – his neck injury could make things interesting.

Gurthrö Steenkamp made a start at loosehead against Wales and he could see himself getting more game time.

Meyer could also however experiment with his number of tightheads – as he has done before.

Probable: Gurthrö Steenkamp

Possible: Coenie Oosthuizen, Trevor Nyakane

Problematic: Dean Greyling

By Darryn Pollock

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

Fresh Starts | Episode 1 | Will Skelton

ABBIE WARD: A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Aotearoa Rugby Podcast | Episode 8

James Cook | The Big Jim Show | Full Episode

New Zealand victorious in TENSE final | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Men's Highlights

New Zealand crowned BACK-TO-BACK champions | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Women's Highlights

Japan Rugby League One | Steelers v Sungoliath | Full Match Replay

Rugby Europe Women's Championship | Netherlands v Spain

Write A Comment