Time for Rassie and team to think outside the box
JOHANNESBURG – After the lacklustre showing in their last-gasp 29-26 win against France in Paris on Saturday night, rugby writer Jacques van der Westhuyzen suggests Bok coach Rassie Erasmus rethink his team and game-plan to face Scotland.
Stop the box-kicking
Faf de Klerk is one of the most attacking, dangerous scrumhalves in the world game - but if he’s not going to be allowed to run at the opposition, feed his backs and be a nuisance to the opposition there’s no reason to be picking him.
His forte is not box-kicking and coach Rassie Erasmus needs to rethink this “plan”. De Klerk, or whoever starts at scrumhalf, should be allowed to play their game and allow Handre Pollard (or whoever is at 10) to take charge and be the decision-maker.
Get PSdT back in the back-row
It wasn’t that long ago that fans were questioning the reasoning behind playing one of our premier locks, Pieter-Steph du Toit, as a blindside flank ... well, no more. Du Toit has shown this year he is more than capable of playing in the loose-trio and needs to move back there as soon as possible.
The Boks have more than enough quality locks for Du Toit to wear the No 7 on his back. Against Scotland this weekend he needs to form a loose-trio with Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen.
Let’s see Bongi have a go
Malcolm Marx may be one of the nominees for World Player of the Year, but he has not been on top of his game for some time now. While he hit his jumpers on Saturday - a marked improvement from the England game - he was far off the standard he’s set for himself in recent times. Swapping places with Bongi Mbonambi might just fire up Marx, who could be devastating coming off the bench, and allow Mbonambi to show his mettle again. The Stormers man deserves another start.
Please put together an 80-minute effort
One of the mysteries of the Erasmus era so far has been the fact the Boks can’t put together a whole-hearted 80-minute performance. If they’re not starting slowly and falling behind early on (England in June), they’re giving up handy positions to lose in the dying minutes (New Zealand at Loftus). On Saturday against France, they were poor in the first half and only just better in the second half. Erasmus needs to find the magic to ensure the Boks maintain a high standard throughout.
Sort out the inconsistencies
From one week to the next you just don’t know what you’re going to get from this Bok side. At times this year, they’ve varied their attacking game and looked dangerous when on the front foot, but on Saturday they seemed to have no idea how to unlock the French defence. One week they defend well (as they did at Twickenham to deny England a try), the next there are gaping holes in the defensive wall. Sometimes the replacements work, sometimes they don’t. Some consistency please.