South Africa’s bold approach against the All Blacks has been put on hold for the Welsh Test. What a shame.
Why is it that in this country the conservative and the safe option is always preferred to something closer to risk and X-factor?
It may explain why the Springboks have won 14 out of 50 against the All Blacks since 1992 and why the All Blacks have a historic win percentage close to 80 percent and South Africa’s is closer to 60 than 70 percent.
Willie le Roux has added a dimension to the Bok play this season. He asks questions. Sure he makes mistakes but he keeps the opposition guessing.
Pat Lambie, as a fullback, is a safe and conservative selection. Lambie’s best position is flyhalf and he now gets picked in a position in which he didn’t play in Super Rugby and the Currie Cup play-offs.
A year ago Lambie started all three Tests up North at flyhalf. Now he is the fullback for Heyneke Meyer. So which is he, fullback or flyhalf?
Le Roux will provide impact from the bench but I’d much rather see him involved for 80 minutes.
Similarly Pieter-Steph du Toit.
He will warm the bench with Flip van der Merwe starting at No 5 lock.
Van der Merwe has proven to be a liability when it comes to discipline and while he is the more experienced of the two he is another safe option. This is a team that has been picked with the hope of not losing. It isn’t a team picked to dazzle and set a benchmark.
Springboks – 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 JJ Engelbrecht, 23 Willie le Roux.