Going into the Rugby Championships for the Springboks to be successful they need a few things to be done right with a little bit of luck as well.

The All Blacks will go into the championship as favourites again with the Boks, Aussies and Argentinians to fight it out for second place in my mind.

We expect a much closer championship than what we have seen in recent years with the Aussies and the Boks that can push the All Blacks this year.

The Aussies and Springboks come close at home in the last few years and they need to covert them into wins now.

The Boks are already without Vermeulen which is a major blow for the Championship but in Whiteley we have a different number eight player.

That does not mean we are worst off, in-fact Whiteley brings something else to the team than Vermeulen and with a young captain in Kolisi Whiteley will play a vital role in the leadership of this team.

His interplay is brilliant which links players on attack and the option at lineouts is crucial.

The Springboks will have to win the forward battles if they want to have any chance to succeed this year.

That start with the tight five but even more important will be the battle on the ground and the small battles in the set pieces.

This brings a player like Marx as an very important factor in their success or failure.

Erasmus biggest headache will be his trio. Finding the right combination will be crucial not just in the way they play.

Erasmus has indicated earlier last week that Marco van Staden, Siya Kolisi and Francois Louw will start in the back row at some stage of the Rugby Championship.

Erasmus sees Louw as a contender for the number eight jumper as well although it is expected that Whiteley will wear the Springbok number eight jersey.

It will be a huge risk to play Louw at number eight. He is not a specialised number eight and the combination of Kolisi, Louw and Van Staaden may bring more problems than answers for Erasmus.

Du Preez has not done many things wrong when he was handed the number 7 jersey the last couple of years and then you have Brink who has been the star player this year in Super Rugby.

With Kolisi certain of his place as captain I would like to see Whiteley and Van Staaden starting against Argentina but we will most properly see Whiteley, Kolisi and Louw running onto the field this weekend.

The fact remains that Erasmus will have to make up his mind soon as we do not want to see a situation where we cannot settle on our starting trio against the Aussies and New Zealand so the two test against Argentina we are likely to see Erasmus find that combination.

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  1. Good read Jacques…


    ‘The Boks will push the All Blacks’ lol!

    ‘Rassie needs to get the trio spot-on… but Kolisi is the first pencilled in’ lol!

    Boks will be wooden-spooners with that trio…

  2. @bryce_in_oz: One can dream , but we have been very competitive at home against them and they need to turn those close losses now into wins.

    Maybe a far fetch hope but that is what Erasmus needs to proof…

    I am optimistic but not convince

  3. This “mean we are worst off, in-fact Whiteley brings something else to the team than Vermeulen and with a young captain in Kolisi Whiteley will play a vital role in the leadership of this team.”

    Actually it does. The rumours are that Kolisi will play blindside to make space for an open side. With whiteley at 8 then, you do not have one single bruiser in that trio. If Kolisi is to play, we need a Vermeulen type of 8, who is not only a bruiser but plays towards the ball and hits rucks. You cannot have both Kolisi and Whiteley playing on the wing as they have all season, and expect your ipenside to have any effect whatsoever

  4. @Jacques: yeah, if neither of Brink nor Du Preez is ready come RC, we have no real bruiser in the forwards. And then to balance the trio with Kolisi at 7 is going to call for either of them to play out of position at 8.

  5. Agree, but must say I don’t understand the issue here at all. Whiteley should be a straight swap for Vermeulen with JLDP into blindside. rhis only becomes an issue if Flo is introduced. JLDP is strongest ball carrier in SA, he’s also leading the super rugby stars. First name down in that loose-trio.

    If neither JLDP or Brink are selected, this is just making unessary problems. Do what you want at 6 and no 8.

    Far bigger problems at center.

  6. It looks set that Esterhuizen and Am will be the midfield combination, do not know how I feel about that.

    Etzebeth will also start it seems and will play 60 minutes plus according to Rassie Press Briefing

    So we know the follow so far:

    1. Beast
    2. Marx

    Locks: Etzebeth and ?
    Flanks: Kolisi and ?
    Eightman: ? Should be Whiteley
    9: Faf
    10: Pollard
    1Wings: Dyantyi and Mapimpi
    Midfield: Esterhuizen and Am
    15: Le Roux

  7. 1 Kitschoff
    2 Marx
    3 Koche

    4 Etsebeth
    5 PSDT

    6 Smit
    7 JLDP
    8 Whiteley (C)

    9 Faf
    10 Pollard
    11 JPP
    12 Steyn
    13 Serfontein
    14 Combrink
    15 WL

    16 Akker
    17 Beast
    18 Louw
    19 Botha
    20 Kolisi
    21 Wright
    22 Jantjies
    23 Leydds

  8. Working backwards the NZ PDs for TRC away games are:
    +1 +26 +20 +42 +19 +34 -8 +7 +2 +21 0

    You must be one hell of an optimist to extract a trend against the ABs from that.

    An I missing something?

  9. @Jacques:

    With our inexperienced at test level backline, I don’t have a problem with it if Rassie rather opts for a combination at centre.

  10. Think I now understand what Rassie wants to do with Flo and the loosetrio. Maybe something to it. Flo is an intelligent player – but I just cannot see why JLDP is not starting based on what he brings to the team. Basically if you got a spine of beast/Kits, Marx, Etsebeth and JLDP – you ain’t going to lose.

  11. Those interviews are quite interesting and kinda open. But this plan is putting a helluva lot of pressure on our tight 5, esp if PSDT is not an out-an-out tight forward. Against oz I get it, but Argentina I don’t. Let’s see – Rassie a smartcookie who knows.

  12. @cab:

    The only thing to understand is that he has to try and balance his loose-forward trio around Kolisi ‘first’ who is neither a blind-sider nor an open-sider. This is why PSDT is back at lock and there is no JLDP. If he Kolisi had worked on his open-side game for the best part of half a decade now we wouldn’t be having a discussion about why there is no traditional blind-sider in the team. But he prefers to play in the centres and wings.

    The trio will be 6 Louw, 7 Kolisi, Whiteley… with Van Staden on the bench.

    He couldn’t start with Van Staden, Kolisi and Whiteley as they’re too light-weight as a collective.

    If JLDP is not still carrying an injury and can only shale my head in disbelief.

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