Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has made a few changes to his starting team and bench for Saturdays test against Australia in Brisbane.
As a coach you always try to get the best players on the field to get the result at the end of the day but with Erasmus he needs to build towards rugby’s showpiece next year in Japan as well.
As much as we do not admint to it but World Cup’s are a major aspect we do rate coaches these days. Not many teams can brag about 99% winning records at test level excpet the All Blacks so most teams focus on getting their hands on the Web Ellis trophy every four years.
Erasmus said that at ten Jantjies and Pollard knew from the start who will start this weekend test against the Aussies
‘He (Handrè) knew a few weeks ago already that he was going to get two matches on the trot to find some form. It was always our plan to give Elton a run here in Australia, and Pollard knew about this a few weeks ago already.’
Don’t get me wrong I am am happy that Jantjies gets his chance but will it be a make or break test for Jantjies with the Boks on the backfoot after their lost against Argentina? Or will Jantjies get now the same opertunity Pollard got under Erasmus coaching?
For the past two years we have been saying that Jantjies biggest problem in the Boks side has been that the Springbok coach and his team could not get the gameplan right for Jantjies to show his class as he has shown for the Lions in Super Rugby.
With Erasmus as coach with his new perspective and clearly better game for the Boks one hope that Jantjies will be given that opertunity to get time on the park as was the case with Pollard so far this year.
Between the line I read that Erasmus is very desperate for the win on Saturday and the combination between Jantjies and De Klerk may give him that extra experience he needs in this crucial combination.
If you believe me that for Erasmus the win is the atmost importance this weekend then the other changes makes some sense as well.
He went with De Allende and Kriel in the midfield who has played plenty of test matches together and it seems the inexperience of Am and Esterhuizen played a major role in this decision. Erasmus did say this week that he believes the major fact for the lost against the Argentinian team was due to the inexperience of his backline to adopt to the referee handling of the offside line.
Erasmus is putting his faith in his most experience midfield combination to counter a repeat on Saturday against the Aussies. The problem with this is that this is not a way forward but a step back.
The De Allende, Kriel combination have not worked for three years and I find it diffult to see it change suddenly overnight against an Aussies side that is not as bad as their record show this year.
Now lets look at the pack…..
The biggest debat this far has been the lose trio and Erasmus went with Du Tiot, Kolis and Whiteley. Now try and spot a out-and-out fetcher amoung these playrs?
He also went with Mbonambi implace of Marx who move tothe bench. Now I knwo that Marx have struggled somewhat in the lineouts but that aspect of the game goes with the combination with the locks not just the hooker’s ability to find his jumpers. With Erasmus changing every week his lock pair it makes it difficult to get that sync in tune as well.
My biggest problem with Marx not in this team is that he has been the only real fetcher on the side although he was playing from the number two jumper.
If you look at Erasmus pack it all points to a pack that wants to dominate and beat the Aussies to the breakdown point. They will have to do that with two of thw world best fetchers in Pocock and Hooper that will go at you for 80 minutes. This is a huge risk Erasmus is taking if the big hitters of Du Tiot, Mostert, Etzebeth and Kitshoff can not beat the Aussie pair to the breakdown.
With only Louw on the bench as cover it seems there is only a Plan-A this weekend.
The jury is still out for me on Kolbe who sits onthe bench this weekend. It is one thing to mention the likes of McKenzie but do we really believe he has the ability and skills like McKenzie? Defence have always been a problem for Kolbe and when the game is wet and tight he dissapear in the distance.
I still do not understand the selection of Malherbe as a starting prop. He had one decend test so far and has not been the dominant force as he was before his injury.
It is going to be a touch and go this weekend for the Boks and for Erasmus sake I hope his Plan-A works becuase I do not see anyway that there can be a Plan-B.