Calling the shots



May 25, 2016
Calling the shots


It won’t be easy for boss Toetie to pick halfbacks.

So much of how the Springboks will play this year will depend on the halfbacks coach Allister Coetzee chooses for the Tests against Ireland.

But his job has been made difficult from the start.

Veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has retired from international rugby, Ruan Pienaar looks past his sell-by date and then there are injuries to Handre Pollard and Elton Jantjies.

Added to this, Sharks pivot Pat Lambie also missed the start of the season through injury, while the Stormers are currently playing their third-choice pivot.

Lambie will be in the squad – he is the only internationally capped flyhalf currently starting for his franchise.

Exactly who his deputy will be in the series is the big issue.

And here Coetzee might opt to go overseas to bring back Johan Goosen, who has been in good form in France recently despite |operating at inside centre.

Either that, or one of the youngsters such as Jean-Luc du Plessis or Garth April might get a shock call-up.

It doesn’t help that the scrumhalves currently in South Africa are rather inexperienced as well – with the exception of the Sharks’ Cobus Reinach, who is also out with a knee ligament injury.

And while Rudy Paige was expected to step up this year, he is being kept on the sidelines at the Bulls by Piet van Zyl.

Depending on the type of game Coetzee wants to play, he can either opt for the dynamism and speedy service of Faf de Klerk, the line-breaking abilities of the Cheetahs’ Shaun Venter, the defensive ability of Nic Groom or opt for the boot of Paige.

As far as combinations are concerned, Coetzee will have to find the balance among his halfbacks.

Ideally, you’d want one of them to be more attacking and the other playing a bit more of a tactical game.

One thing is clear, though, whoever he chooses, there will be a few unhappy coach critics.

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