Picking Zane Kirchner will be a safe option. But it will also be a sorry one.
The Boks won’t win in Australia with Kirchner at fullback. He is a safe option but his selection at fullback won’t win South Africa the match.
Pat Lambie offers more as a player. The Australians know Kirchner asks no questions on attack.
The Boks, possibly without Eben Etzebeth, also have vulnerability in their second row combination. Jaundre Kruger won’t start if Etzebeth is fit. Etzebeth, according to SA Rugby’s Jon Cardinelli in Brisbane, is struggling with a stomach illness and is in doubt for Saturday’s Test.
Willie le Roux is also likely to take over from Bjorn Basson on the right wing. There were indications that coach Heyneke Meyer would also tweak the starting back row, with Willem Alberts expected to be among the reserves.
However, the way the team trained, Alberts will start with Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen. It makes for a physical pack but one that does lack mobility. A lack of mobility among the forwards has often come back to haunt the Boks in their six successive defeats at SunCorp Stadium.
The Bok selections look conservative in a couple of key areas.
The Boks, if their physicality is matched, have limitations on attack, starting at fullback.
Probable Bok XV – 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.