White: “If it’s there, fetch it”

Springbok coach Jake White has explained why the Boks don’t need a specialist fetcher.

“Using the term fetcher to describe an openside flanker is a total misnomer,” he said. “The only specialised fetchers I know are my sons when they fetch me a beer from a fridge on a Sunday afternoon.”

Joe van Niekerk will wear the No 6 jersey against the French on Saturday. Rather than worrying about finding someone to fill Burger’s place at the breakdown, White is more interested in Van Niekerk’s ability to link with the backs.

“Joe is a very athletic guy and he’s very quick,” White said. “He is also very good at running the right lines on attack and supporting the backline players when they need to offload.”

“We should have 15 fetchers on the park. If the ball’s there, fetch it. You don’t need a specialist to do that. Everybody should know what to do at the breakdown.”

A great example of a non-flanker who wins a lot of ball on the ground is De Wet Barry. The Province and Stormers centre has never been one to shy away from the tight phases.

“Barry is one that fetches more than most,” White smiled.

Barry makes his return to the midfield against France alongside Bok rookie Wynand Olivier, and will be looking to show his worth ahead of the Tri-Nations, when first choice centres Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie are due to return.

“De Wet has played a lot of rugby in the past two seasons, and he knows that if he wants to stay in the Springbok side, he has to perform.”

By Jon Cardinelli