As much as Peter de Villiers stuck with unpopular incumbents in the past, so too will he stick with guys who have now stepped up and grabbed their opportunity
Ebrahim Moerat – Rugby365
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says players who were in the driving seat for starting positions at the start of the international season, will struggle to get back in the Bok team as they head into the business-end of the Tri-Nations.
The Springboks will face the Wallabies at Newlands this Saturday, following their recording-breaking series win against New Zealand last Saturday. Bok pivot Morne Steyn emerged the hero after scoring all his team’s points in the 31-19 victory in Durban..
Steyn was dropped for the Boks’ opening Tri-Nations Test in Bloemfontein, after kicking the Boks’ to victory against the British and Irish Lions but his performance in the second Test against the All Blacks has given the Boks coach a selection poser, with Ruan Pienaar also available for selection this week.
However, De Villiers was tight-lipped as to where, and if, Pienaar will feature in Saturday’s Test.
“Ruan is fit and avaiable for selection,” De Villiers told rugby365.com on Monday as the Springboks hosted a coaching clinic in Wellington, in front of hundreds of school children from the surrounding areas.
“The guys that were in the position before will battle to get back in the team.
“Even a guy like Adrian Jacobs, who was in the driving seat, will struggle to get back in. It’s actually good to know that our second-line guys are just as good if they are given the responsibility,”he said.
Despite his phenomenal showing last Saturday, De Villiers stressed that Steyn is far from the complete package.
“Morne can still get the backline away a lot faster and he can also try to create a lot more space,” the Bok coach explained.
“The fact that he has a brilliant boot does not blind us that he’s playing total rugby. But we know what he can do with the boot.”
A victory at Newlands will place the Boks in healthy position on the Tri-Nations standings, before they embark on the Australasian leg of the tournament.However, De Villiers says they still have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks, especially decision-making on the pitch..
“I’m not trying to get a perfect team. We just want to win no matter if we win ugly,” he said.
“The situation changes from week to week but we are 60 percent where we want to be in terms of decision making.
“There were times [against the All Blacks] that we made good decisions but there were times that we let ourselves down as well. So we need to make sure we grow in that area.”