Fresh blood on Bok squad

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October 24, 2016
Fresh blood on Bok squad

BOK CHANCE: No.14 Sergeal

Coetzee picks new talent for tough Euro Tests.

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has cast his net wide by selecting two squads for their tour of the UK next month.

And the biggest winners when he named his squads were Jean-Luc du Preez, Sergeal Petersen, Roelof Smit and Francois Venter, who will not only play in the match against the
Barbarians, but will also stick around in the UK for the Tests against England, Italy and Wales.

The biggest loser, meanwhile, has to be flyhalf Morne Steyn, 32, who has been left out of both squads completely.

Steyn was coach Coetzee’s first choice at the end of the Rugby Championship this year.

But after winning the match for the Boks against Australia at home, his display in the final encounter against the Kiwis didn’t do him any favours.

The coach, instead, opted for the future and pinned his pivot hopes on Pat Lambie, Elton Jantjies and Johan Goosen, who will also cover centre and fullback.

With Francois Louw out injured, one player who might benefit big time from his absence is the Blue Bulls’ Smit.

A good showing against the Barbarians might see him called up to the big leagues.

The former Baby Bok has been the stand-out fetcher in the Currie Cup this year,
making no fewer than 20 steals – the most in the tournament – and at 23, still has a number of years in him.

The unavailability of the Thor-like Duane Vermeulen, who isn’t fit enough for international rugby, has also opened the door for strong flanker Du Preez.

A big boy, at 113kg, the Sharks’ Du Preez can give the Boks good go-forward ball with the ability to make decent offloads.

In the backline, the time is right now to blood Petersen.

Ruan Combrinck is back from injury and Coetzee will in all likelihood call on him and the experience of Bryan Habana to start the Tests.

But with Francois Hougaard missing out through injury, Petersen might just get his big break.

At 22, he has been on fire in the Currie Cup towards the end after recovering from an ankle injury.

His hattrick against the Lions in the semifinal came at the right time and blessed with all the skills required of a right winger, Petersen might just turn out to be the find of the tour.

Venter is another player that will look to benefit from injury.

The Springboks have had a tough time in the midfield this year.

And Coetzee has used a number of players at centre, but not yet Venter, who led his Free State Cheetahs team to finish the season as unbeaten Currie Cup champs.

Not only will he bring calmness to the Boks’ defence, but Venter is a creative midfielder, having given final passes on four occasions in the Currie Cup.

While the quartet will be hoping to get their Test debuts, Coetzee also has the opportunity to look at a number of second-stringers in the match against the Barbarians.

And despite not having the best of seasons in Cape Town, Cheslin Kolbe has been called up to the team for his first taste of international action, and will be joined by fellow Capetonians Nizaam Carr and Damian de Allende in the squad that will play the
Barbarians.

Coetzee rewarded some good Currie Cup form in this squad, with the Lions’ Rohan Janse van Rensburg also getting his chance to impress the national coach, while the Blue Bulls’ Jamba Ulengo is another player who will fancy his chances of making it to the big time.

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