The great Springbok flyhalf debate

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That is the big question ahead of the Boks’ departure to Australia on Thursday. Springbok coach Allister Coetzee names his squad today for the matches in Brisbane on September 10 and against New Zealand in Christchurch a week later.

Jantjies’ position in the team - and squad - is the hottest topic of discussion right now. The Lions man, who was so instrumental in helping the Joburg franchise play in their first Super Rugby final a few weeks ago - has had an up and down time of it since being entrusted with the Bok No 10 jumper following the injury to Pat Lambie in June.

The Lions flyhalf has not been able to replicate his Super Rugby form in the Test arena and on Saturday also picked up a groin injury, which could force him to miss the trip Down Under. Jantjies had scans done on his groin yesterday, with the results likely to be known only today ahead of Coetzee naming his touring group.

If Jantjies isn’t fit the Bok boss will in all likelihood rely on Goosen and Steyn to play at No 10 against the Wallabies and All Blacks.

If it’s the younger Goosen who gets the nod then Coetzee will have to find a new fullback, possibly Jesse Kriel, or will there then be an opening for Western Province’s Cheslin Kolbe? Handing Steyn the flyhalf role would mean the Bok boss can continue with Goosen at fullback - a position Coetzee said he wanted the France-based man to concentrate on going forward.

The problem for the Boks and the coaching team is that Willie le Roux is out of form and out of favour right now so he’s not likely to make a return any time soon, while the other flyhalf options - Handre Pollard and Lambie - are both still on the sidelines. Pollard is recovering from knee and shoulder operations, while Lambie - who was seemingly Coetzee’s first choice flyhalf at the start of the Test season and who can play at 10 and 15 - is yet to return to the playing field after suffering concussion in the first Test against Ireland in June.

It will be interesting to see if there is a shake-up of the squad that did duty against Argentina. Besides the uncertainty surrounding Jantjies’ position, Coetzee has to find a replacement for wing Ruan Combrinck, who broke his leg in Salta on Saturday. The options to the coach include bringing back JP Pietersen or Lwavi Mvovo or handing Courtnall Skosan an opportunity.

Sevens star Seabelo Senatla would also have been an option, but he is sidelined with a wrist injury, while the Cheetahs’ Sergeal Petersen is also currently out of action.

The only player who has part of Coetzee’s original training squad but didn’t feature against Argentina, but may be included in the squad now is Francois Hougaard (knee), but the coach will still not be able to call on props Frans Malherbe (neck) and Julian Redelinghuys (hamstring), flank Siya Kolisi (ankle) and eighthman Duane Vermeulen (knee).

And, will the Bok boss look north for the trip Down Under and consider a few more overseas-based men ... such as Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Steyn and some others?

Independent Media

Original source: The great Springbok flyhalf debate

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