Boks set Lobberts loose

Hilton Lobberts is expected to make his Springbok debut against England on Saturday.

The Bulls loose forward made a big impression as an impact player towards the end of the Absa Currie Cup, drawing comparisons with All Black flank Jerry Collins. The 20 year old will replace Juan Smith, who injured a calf muscle against Ireland.

If Smith is ruled out of the tour, White may call for a replacement from South Africa. Wikus van Heerden is set to join the Boks for their last match against the World XV, and could simply come through a week or two earlier. However, Van Heerden has yet to play for the Boks this season, and a better bet may be Kabamba Floors or Luke Watson (if hell freezes over). Of course, all three flankers haven’t played since the Currie Cup and would have to shake off the rust.

White is also expected to give Andre Pretorius the boot, although no flyhalf could have impressed behind the struggling Bok pack that faced Ireland.

Either Butch James or Francois Steyn will wear the No 10 jersey at Twickenham. If Steyn moves to flyhalf, Bryan Habana would probably shift to the left wing with Jaco Pretorius partnering Jean de Villiers in midfield. Wynand Olivier or Akona Ndungane could come in on the other wing (Ndungane would have to play for transformation reasons if Lawrence Sephaka is dropped).

White will most probably decide to select James at 10 and Steyn at fullback in place of Bevin Fortuin.

If James does start, then it would make sense to partner him with Sharks team-mate Ruan Pienaar. The scrumhalf would offer the side far more than Ricky Januarie, who seems to have swopped McDonald’s for Burger King since arriving in the UK.

Among the forwards, CJ van der Linde is expected to replace Sephaka at loosehead, with BJ Botha beefing up the front row at tighthead. Johann Muller could come in for Johan Ackermann, who failed to make an impact in Dublin.

Possible Bok side:

15 Francois Steyn, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Butch James, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Hilton Lobberts, 5 Albert van den Berg, 4 Johann Muller, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (c), 1 CJ van der Linde.

By Simon Borchardt in London