Meyer to stick to Italian winners
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is set to continue with virtually the same squad that beat Italy 44-10 last week in Durban rather than make a number of changes.
While it was expected the Bok coach would further cast his net wider and give other members of the squad a run in Saturday’s test against Scotland, it seems this thinking has changed and he is more inclined to stick to the same starting line-up, bar injuries, to continue to give the newcomers more confidence.
Earlier in the week Meyer told how he was weighing up his options and how he didn’t want to change too much to give the new players who obtained their first caps some breathing space. His precise words were that it would be wrong to break “their continuity and confidence” going into the second week of the three-week June International stretch.
Meyer also hinted earlier this week that there would be “not many changes” and it was apparent on Tuesday when the team ran as a unit in their public training session for the first time.
Marcel Coetzee slotted in at flank, while Ruan Pienaar took over the scrumhalf duties in Jano Vermaak’s absence with the rest of the team running unchanged.
Coetzee of course, is there because Francois Louw has been excused from Bok duty to get married – a strange decision in the middle of the test season, but one which was sanctioned by the Bok management nonetheless.
With enough depth at looseforward it means that Meyer can give the impressive Arno Botha another run and after his performance against Italy, he certainly made an impression by racking up the most cleans and a massive 23 tackles in the match.
Coetzee will join the loose trio and open up a spot on the bench, where the only real changes will happen this week. This means Siya Kolisi is likely to be there and will finally get an opportunity to get his first Bok cap as he is seen as next in line ahead of Lappies Labuschagne.
Also on the bench Piet van Zyl is set to take the halfback spot with Bismarck du Plessis returning ahead of Chiliboy Ralepelle to fill the hooking spot. While Du Plessis has come through three club games to prove his fitness, it is unclear why he needs to play in this game, especially after Ralepelle showed his class in the second half against Italy.
Still, the Cheetahs props Trevor Nyakane and Coenie Oosthuizen are set to continue on the bench with Meyer looking for an improved performance from his first choice front row, while Pat Lambie and Jan Serfontein should fill the remaining spots on the bench.