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Rugby | Springboks

'Fourie won't let Boks down'

If Springbok halfback Fourie du Preez is picked to captain the national side against England, he would do a fine job, even though he has been playing in Japan in recent times.

Du Preez, who is the favourite to lead the Boks into battle against England, may not be used to the physical demands of test rugby anymore, but will be fine in the heat of battle.

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett though believes it would be wrong to use Du Preez and thinks the Boks should rather back Francois Hougaard. However, if coach Heyneke Meyer decides to go with Du Preez, Mallett knows it won’t be a gamble.

Mallett, who will be SuperSport’s analyst during the English test series, said he wasn’t in favour of using players from overseas.

“I believe that once a guy is gone, it is because he doesn’t want to tough it out over here. If you decide to leave South Africa to go to play in Japan or France, it is because you want easier rugby and want to get paid more without the physical demands that the game poses over here,” Mallett explained.

“Now Fourie has been playing in Japan and he suddenly comes back to be captain. I’ll tell you one thing though, Fourie is such a proud player, he won’t allow himself to play badly. He wasn’t playing well at the World Cup last year, nowhere near the levels we knew him to be capable of. But he will give his everything.”

Mallett also said he found the inclusion of Ruan Pienaar interesting, but like Pat Lambie, both players need to stop being versatile and choose a position and stick to it.

“It is difficult, and it has always happened, we had someone like Percy Montgomery who could play anywhere. If you look at guys like Pat Lambie, Frans Steyn, they’re excellent players,” he said.

“They do help out, but someone like Lambie will need to make a decision about his future, and if he wants to play 10 he must commit to it. Someone like Ruan (Pienaar) shouldn’t have gone to the position unless he was really committed to playing there. He is a very good No 9, and you can see that when he plays for Ulster. But he’s played fullback, 10 and 9 for the Springboks.”

Mallett said Lambie had the ability to become “the next Dan Carter” if he was coached properly.

“Lambie will have to decide, he could be the next Dan Carter, right away. If you have someone like Wayne Smith coaching him, he has the acceleration and understanding of space that few players have. His tackles always bring the guy down and there isn’t a fuss about him.”

Ironically Steyn and Pienaar suffered at the Sharks where they were consistently rotated out of position, the same side that Lambie finds himself being shifted around in.


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