Four scrumhalves and other surprises
The selection of four scrumhalves for the match against Romania is breathtaking, but it certainly is an indication of the amazing depth of the Springbok squad that is in France for the World Cup.
Most notable, of course, is the selection of Grant Williams on the wing. Against Romania, where the Boks could expect to score many tries, it doesn’t matter where you play him (or anybody else) but it would have been interesting to see him at scrumhalf where he belongs.
Cobus Reinach is a solid scrumhalf who provides accurate and fast service from the base of the scrum. He is almost (but not quite) as fast as Williams and he is also a handful on attack.
It was quite a tantalising prospect to see Williams paired with Manie Libbok, but Libbok has been left out of the team altogether.
It looked like an opportunity for him to get in some much-needed match-time kicking at poles, but that is not to be. Instead, Damian Willemse is at flyhalf which in itself is a delectable prospect.
A match like this one doesn’t prove anything, particularly when it comes to individual players, but Willemse will have a lot of opportunities to show that he is as good a flyhalf as any in the squad.
Canan Moodie is once again at centre with Andre Esterhuizen and watching the two work together is something to look forward to.
Waiting on the bench are Jaden Hendrikse and Faf de Klerk.
“People were surprised when we picked four scrumhalves in the squad,” Nienaber told the media.
“But we knew they offered us the skills and versatility to provide backline options to manage the challenges of tournament rugby.”
It will be interesting to see how they shuffle the deck when the bench comes on.
Not only are there four scrumhalves in the matchday squad, but there are also at least three players who could slot into the number 10 position very neatly.
The only question mark is that super-fit players have to play to remain match-fit. Will a two-week break matter when the A team comes up against Ireland on 23 September?
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Grant Williams, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi (c) 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Jesse Kriel
Pictured above: The Springboks
Image source: Springboks