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May 24, 2016
Back to business

Allister Coetzee to name squad picks at Newlands on Saturday.

We look at Bok coach’s options for his backline.

Allister Coetzee is set to name his first 31-man Springbok squad at Newlands on Saturday.

The big question is: will Coetzee reward form, or will he stick to the tried and tested?

The Daily Voice took a closer look at the back three and the midfield to see who really should be “in the mix” when the squad is selected.

And this is what we found…

Back three

Willie le Roux is the incumbent fullback and he will most likely be in the squad.

Early season form, though, suggested Warrick Gelant was the player to watch.

But the broken jaw he suffered two months ago probably hit his chances of playing against Ireland square in the face.

Not only has Gelant beaten more defenders and made more metres per minute than any other fullback in the country, but he also missed the least amount of tackles in relation to his game time.

The Stormers’ Cheslin Kolbe should benefit from this and might be the other fullback with Le Roux.

On the wings, competition is fierce.

The right-hand side flyers will be a tough battle between veteran JP Pietersen, the safe choice Sergeal Petersen, Ruan Combrinck and Travis Ismaiel.

Petersen and Combrinck have been on fire with ball in hand this season, but there will be some questions over their tackle success rate and the amount of handling errors they make.

Still it’s time to look to the future and Ismaiel, 22, and Petersen, 21, surely deserve to be looked at.

On the left wing, Raymond Rhule has had a busy year with the Cheetahs, while Jamba Ulengo, Leolin Zas and Courtnall Skhosan are all making a case to replace Lwazi Mvovo.


If the form book is anything to judge by, then there won’t be a domestic partnership in the Green and Gold midfield.

Damian de Allende has not been at his best since returning from injury, despite making more carries and beating more defenders than his counterparts.

It’s his failure to get the guys around him going that is biting him in the butt currently. All of this while Jan Serfontein has rediscovered some of the rhythm that made him a Bok.

Coetzee will have to think long and hard about his inside centre and depending on what type of player he wants, any of De Allende, Serfontein, the Cheetahs’ Francois Venter and Andre Esterhuizen can be influential in that central role.

On their outside, there is actually only one man that can wear the No.13 jersey and that is Lionel Mapoe.

Despite being pushed hard by Juan de Jongh, Paul Jordaan and Jesse Kriel, Mapoe has been the best South African No.13 in Super Rugby.

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