BULLDOZER: Ruan Combrinck. CREDIT: Sourced
The character with which the Springboks fought back against Ireland at Ellis Park to win the second Test must be applauded.

It’s been years since we’ve seen this sort of fight from our country’s sports stars.

Think back to the days of the Hansie Cronje-led Proteas era, before the scandal hit, when along with Jonty Rhodes and the manne you couldn’t write them off when their backs were to the wall.

It’s only in the second half of the Joburg clash that I got this feeling from the Bokke.

And I got the feeling that it was the locally-based players that sparked this to life.

In Johannesburg, the guys will be singing “maak die Lions almal Bokke”.

They have every right to feel this way as it was the home boys such as Warren Whiteley and Ruan Combrinck that started the Bokke’s revival.

Therefore I would suggest that in the future, only players playing in South Africa should be considered for national selection.

Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw - the only two overseas-based players that started the match for the Boks were less than inspiring.

And while Coetzee has to be lauded for the way he used his substitutes bench in the clash, you’d expect him to make some tough calls ahead of the third Test.

It’s a pity that both Vermeulen and Whiteley are battling injuries - if Whiteley is fit he should start the decider in the Port Elizabeth showdown.

Furthermore, it would only be fair if Coetzee opted to give flanker Jaco Kriel a shot in the white of the Boks as well.

He’s been one of the stars on the domestic front for a few years already and you can only imagine the type of hype and excitement he will add to the team.

As for the Lions players, they just showed that combinations are very important.

One of Elton Jantjies’ more delightful moments in the clash this past weekend was a pass out wide to Combrinck when the winger wasn’t even in the frame.

He ran onto it, caught it and just proved that the more time players spend together, the better they get to know each other.

If Coetzee plans to bring back prop Steven Kitshoff to South Africa, I’d say cap him this weekend to give him a taste of what it’s like playing for the Springboks.

There is no better time than now to give youngsters a taste of what it’s like to play for the national team.

But while Springbok fans will be smiling after the first win under Coetzee, the coach will know that he has a lot to work on if they want to win the series.