Os: Mind the mauls

Os du Randt believes the success of the Springboks on tour will depend on how they execute and defend the rolling maul.

Europe sees more of the game being played in the forwards, as the wet weather often prescribes keeping the ball close. When the Boks meet Ireland and England in November, they will need to employ this facet of the game to a far greater degree.

“One should remember that, because of their playing conditions, Ireland and England execute about three times as many rolling mauls as we do. They will be well drilled in this department,” Du Randt told Die Volksblad.

Du Randt, one of the nominees for the SA Player of the Year, will not be travelling overseas with the team. In fact, several first-choice members of the tight-five are being rested by coach Jake White to ensure they are fresh for next year’s demanding season. Along with Du Randt, Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha are being left behind, the latter still recovering from injury.

But Du Randt sees this as an opportunity for the second string to perform and thus strengthen the squad in terms of depth. “I think it is a good thing that we are not touring,” he said. “It is only natural that some other players will put up their hands during our absence.

“This could be to our advantage with a view to the World Cup tournament next year.”

Danie Rossouw will has a huge task ahead of him, with the role of enforcer in the northern hemisphere set to be far more demanding than that of the Tri-Nations. Albert van den Berg is likely to assume Matfield’s role in controlling the line-outs, an area where the Boks have enjoyed notable success this year.

In the 2006 Vodacom Super 14 and Absa Currie Cup competitions, many of the South African teams have followed the pattern of mauling off the line-out. As Du Randt states, it is a huge part of the game north equator. Bearing this in mind, it seems a huge gamble for White to leave his premier line-out jumper at home.

Meanwhile, tighthead CJ van der Linde has not been training with the Springbok side, but reports from the management indicate that he should be fit and available for selection against Ireland next week.