David Campese, one of the game’s great wingers, says the Bok backline will battle in the Vodacom Tri-Nations this year.
“I must make it clear that I do not know what Jake White’s plans are for the Springboks, but I think they will struggle,” the Sharks technical adviser told Beeld’s De Jongh Borchardt.
The Springboks will start with a new midfield combination in De Wet Barry and Wynand Olivier on Saturday, but Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie are set to return for the first game of the Tri-Nations.
One of the reasons for Campese’s criticism is the use of key Bok players in different positions for their franchise.
“I will never know why players are selected out of their positions for Super 14 matches. Just think of Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie. They are the top centre combination for the Springboks and they played on the wing for the Stormers and the Cats. And the Bulls played Jaco van der Westhuyzen, the Springbok flyhalf, at fullback. It does not make sense.”
Campo was just as pessimistic when assessing Australia’s chances.
“I still think they should get rid of George Gregan. It does not matter whom they play at scrumhalf, as long as he challenges the opposition. Gregan does not do that,” he said.
“The problem is that the Brumbies have had too much influence for too long in Australian rugby. When that changes, there will be more harmony in the team.”
The Aussies have shown their form in the past few weeks, and the Springboks will be be just as wary of them as the All Blacks.
New Zealand have employed the split squad system to good effect in the internationals thus far, and will have their pick of a number of form backs for the Tri-Nations. But it also remains to be seen how settled they are as a unit.