Butch James is expected to start at flyhalf ahead of Meyer Bosman for the Springboks’ Vodacom Tri-Nations match in Wellington.
Jake White finally conceded this week that Jaco van der Westhuyzen is not the answer at 10, which promoted speculation that Bosman (who wasn’t even in the original squad) would start his third Test on Saturday. However, such was the humiliation suffered by the Boks in Brisbane, that White is set to gamble on James, despite the fact that the Sharks flyhalf only joined the side this week.
James made his last appearance for the Boks during the 53-3 massacre at Twickenham in 2002, although he was part of the extended training squad in Bloemfontein in June.
“The sort of straight running Butch does is much more dangerous to the defence because they can’t just drift across,” South African selection convener Pieter Jooste said.
“Against New Zealand, if you keep kicking them into the corners and stopping their momentum, they can crack under the pressure. They get frustrated far easier than the Australians, who always seem to have several ways of bursting through.”
Meanwhile, Sharks coach Dick Muir said James would give the Boks a boost.
â€œButch is the man for this type of situation the Boks are in,â€ Muir told the Mercury. â€œHis aggression, confidence and skill lift a backline and he is the kind of character that relishes tough situations. He is very excited about his call-up and we are very excited for him. He will do a great job.â€
The Boks will announce their starting line-up on Wednesday.