Lambie rested for Loftus?
Is Springbok utility back Pat Lambie being groomed for a surprise appearance in the starting line-up at Loftus Versfeld against Australia?
The Bok management released five players to play Currie Cup, but froze all 22 of the players that did duty against New Zealand in Dunedin last weekend.
While the likes of Craig Burden (The Sharks), Frans Malherbe (DHL Western Province), Jacques Potgieter (Vodacom Blue Bulls), Jano Vermaak (Vodacom Blue Bulls) and Lwazi Mvovo (The Sharks) have all been released to their provinces to play in this weekend’s domestic matches, there still lingers a question mark over the fortune of Lambie.
The Bok utility back has had precious little time to play and it would have been a consideration to release him to play for the Sharks this weekend to make sure he is sharp.
But with the Bok management being consistent in their outlook, and not releasing anyone in the match 22, Lambie will enjoy another week’s rest before the team re-assembles on Sunday in Johannesburg to prepare for the Loftus test.
There is a hope of a bigger role in the team’s fortunes, especially after the failings of Morne Steyn at flyhalf.
While Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is not one to attack players in public, he is known to be disappointed in Steyn’s performance and has spoken about having to consider some “hard choices” ahead of the Loftus test, with Johan Goosen’s elevation to the flyhalf spot the favourite among both fans and media alike.
The Bok management are contemplating changes to the starting line-up and it is likely that some of the players on the bench are being spared action this weekend to ensure they pick up no injuries ahead of next weekend.
A clearer picture will emerge after this weekend’s Currie Cup games when the team is announced by Saru, with some injured players likely to be ready for action once again.
The Bok selectors will have to decide whether to recall Coenie Oosthuizen, who is expected to return to action this weekend for the Toyota Cheetahs, while Heinrich Brussow’s form warrants a relook at his situation as well.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies continues to perform well at Currie Cup level, and there is an outside chance a big strong runner like Jaco Taute may also receive a call-up.
Winger Bjorn Basson is also fit again and will be looking to regain his spot in the national team, as is Sharks winger JP Pietersen. Banned lock Eben Etzebeth will have served his suspension and is also available for selection.
However, with players like Bismarck du Plessis, Siya Kolisi, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Schalk Burger and Pierre Spies all injured and others like Gurthro Steenkamp and Ryan Kankowski unavailable, there is not much room to move for the Bok management.
Thoughts of Fourie du Preez’s imminent recall from Japan seem to have taken a dent as Du Preez picked up an injury over the weekend playing for his club Suntory and it is uncertain what his status is.
The sixth player that was not part of the match 22 in Dunedin, Pat Cilliers (MTN Golden Lions), is currently injured and not available for selection this weekend.
The squad will convene in Johannesburg on Sunday evening to start preparations for the tests against Australia and New Zealand.