Andre Pretorius will start at flyhalf against England on Saturday, with Kabamba Floors on the bench.
This was confirmed by Jake White during an interview with SuperSport on Monday night. The Bok coach, showing visible signs of the pressure he’s under, explained why Pretorius and not Francois Steyn would get the No 10 jersey.
“It would be unfair to play Frans at flyhalf,” said White. “He’s had an outstanding tour at wing and fullback, and to move him to a third position in three Tests wouldn’t be right. Andre has lots of experience at flyhalf, and has done well against New Zealand and Australia this year in the Tri-Nations.”
Pretorius replaced the injured Butch James 15 minutes into the second half, and had a shocker, failing to find touch or kicking directly into touch on three occasions. However, White lept to the defence of the embattled pivot.
“Andre’s kicks rolled into touch in Rustenburg. His performance on Saturday was just one of those things,” he said before commenting on James’s knee injury.
“Butch actually hurt himself in the first minute. He told the medical staff that there was swelling on the knee, but that he’d carry on for as long as possible. When he kicked that penalty [in the 55th minute] he said he could no longer put his weight on the leg.”
In more selection news, White said that Kabamba Floors, who flew to London on Sunday with Gerrie Britz and Wikus van Heerden, would be involved in the Twickenham Test — just weeks after being snubbed by the Bok selectors.
“It wouldn’t be right to fly him here and then not use him,” said the coach. “He will be in the match 22.”
While gutted by last Saturday’s defeat, White said he was pleased his side had another chance to bury their Twickenham ghosts.
“The guys can’t wait to play,” he said. “After the game we spoke about truly believing in ourselves. It’s easy for the players to say they believe they can win, but do they really believe it? They’ve heard all tour how this is a second-string Springbok side, and that key players have been left at home. Playing at Twickenham is daunting for our youngsters.”
The Boks play England another three times before meeting at the World Cup, and White again emphasised the importance of that pool match.
“No team has lost a pool game and gone on to win the World Cup,” he said. “There’s a high road and a low road to the final and we know which one we’d prefer.”