Solly’s the chosen one
17 Jul 2006
Solly Tyibilika will play as a specialist fetcher against the All Blacks. And Butch James is on a plane to New Zealand.
There will be no emergency call for Western Province captain Luke Watson, who has consistently been ignored since Jake White took charge of the Boks in 2004.
Watson has been the standout South African flanker this season and the only specialist open-sider in the country. Hendro Scholtz and Tim Dlulane are not in his class. White does not rate Watson and has chosen a host of other loose-forwards ahead of him.
Now the embattled Springbok coach will give Tyibilika a start against Richie McCaw’s All Blacks, when this year the Sharks flanker has struggled to make Wildebeest team in the Vodacom Cup.
White’s grand plan of Wikus van Heerden as an openside option and potential captain lasted just 80 minutes against the World XV. And the Joe van Niekerk experiment as an openside option has culminated in two crushing defeats for the Boks.
White will be forced to admit that three ball-carrying loose-forwards is not the answer against the leading team. His only team option is Tyibilika who was not considered good enough to make the Sharks Super 14 team and could not make the run-on XV for the Wildebeest in the Vodacom Cup final.
Tyibilika has not played a game of rugby in two months and now starts against the All Blacks.
White will also select Meyer Bosman at flyhalf after not selecting him in his original training squad of 45. Butch James was the chosen one then, as was Andre Pretorius. Both got injured and then Bosman was drafted in. White did not use him and the player missed out on the World under 21 championships because of the late change of mind from the national coach.
Bosman then went back to Currie Cup action where he has played mostly as a substitute in the shadow of Willem de Waal. White never used Bosman in the World XV match or the two tests against a poor Scottish team.
Now he is telling the player it is ‘sink or swim’ time.
James has been flown to New Zealand, but is only likely to feature in the test against Australia in Sydney a week from now.
It all smacks of a coach clutching at straws.
Ricky Januarie arrived at the Bok camp fat and out of form. He was so poor in the Super 14 that he was eventually dropped. White persisted with him and now will be forced to drop him as well.
The Bok coach’s refusal to look beyond his core group of players is now biting him. A refusal to blood a core group of new players on last year’s tour was criticised at the time and Saturday’s defeat against the Wallabies was the consequence of a lack of planning in team selection.
White will also replace Danie Rossouw with Albert van den Berg and Eddie Andrews may start ahead of CJ van der Linde. Either way with Van den Berg and Tyibilika in the pack, there thankfully won’t be any talk of the physical presence of the Bok pack.
Boks (probable): Monty, Ndungane, Fourie, Olivier, Habana, Bosman, Du Preez, Van Niekerk, Smith, Tyibilika, Matfield, Van den Berg, Andrews, Smit and Du Randt.