Meyer puts faith in Stormers lock duo
15 Aug 2012
Andries Bekker and Eben Etzebeth are the go-to men for Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer in Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener against Argentina.
Meyer has picked Sharks captain Keegan Daniel at No 8 and admitted he has put the challenge to Daniel to prove he has the physicality to play Test rugby.
‘It’s going to be a really physical game and I’ve said to him that he needs to prove that he can bring that to the table,’ Meyer said. ‘I’ve been honest with him and told him he has to prove that he can play at this level. But I’m confident in his ability. He has played very well against the best teams in Super Rugby, particularly the Stormers. Also whatever you lose in physicality with Keegan he makes up for in the X Factor. We don’t lose much in terms of ball carrying because Marcell Coetzee is not an out and out No 6 [specialist fetcher].’
Meyer has also preferred the local lock pairing of Bekker and Etzebeth, with Bulls lock Juandre Kruger dropping out of the match 22. Kruger started in the three-Test series against England because of injury to Bekker, who has recovered from injury. Meyer told the media he wanted to see Bekker in action and that in the context of the match and the opposition he felt it better to include Flip van der Merwe as the back-up lock. He said in future it would be a straight choice between Bekker and Kruger as the starting 5.
‘I thought that Juandre did brilliantly against England but this is at Newlands and I want to see what Andries can do and then stick with the best guy going forward. It’s great to have that competition in the side,’ Meyer said. ‘Juandre dropping out of the 22 altogether was tough on him but Flip has been brilliant off the bench and with Eben not 100% fit [Etzebeth has struggled with a hip injury for the last three weeks but passed a fitness Test] it made sense to have Flip there. He’ll make the lineout calls if Andries should be injured.’
Elsewhere Lwazi Mvovo also gets a chance for the injured JP Pietersen with regular No 11 Bryan Habana to start on the right wing. Meyer also said he had full confidence that Morne Steyn would produce a performance worthy of a Test No 10 and that he would answer his critics in the most emphatic way.
‘I may put my foot in it but I think Morne is going to have a great game,’ Meyer predicted. ‘He is clearly more relaxed after a break, which he hasn’t had for three years. The mental break has been most important and he has also just had a little boy, which would have contributed to a good state of mind. I watched him this morning and suddenly he is attacking and breaking the line more than he has [recently]. He is a professional and he knows that if he doesn’t play to a high standard he has to deal with the criticism. He can and has, but I think the break has come at the right time for him.’
Springboks – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht
Argentina – 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla; 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (c), 7 Alvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero
Subs: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Tomas Leonardi, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Martin Rodriguez