Raw deal for Rudy



October 4, 2016
Raw deal for Rudy

HARD LUCK: Bok No.9 Rudy Paige

Bok backs reshuffle after injury to Paige.

Springbok scrumhalf Rudy Paige must be cursing his luck today.

Having waited forever and a day to make his first start in the Green and Gold, his moment finally arrived at his home ground Loftus last weekend when South Africa hosted Australia.

The emotion was clear for all to see as Paige’s tears streamed down his face during the national anthem.

What followed was a dominant display at scrumhalf, where he replaced the struggling Faf de Klerk.

Paige, though, suffered a head knock and has now been ruled out of Saturday’s clash against the All Blacks in Durban, leaving his coach Allister Coetzee with a selection headache for the Test.

Paige’s Blue Bulls teammate Piet van Zyl, who has two Test caps to his name, has been called up to the squad.

It would make sense for Coetzee to bring back De Klerk – to keep disruptions in his backline to a minimum.

And with Coetzee saying in the build-up to the Test against the Wallabies that he believes in second chances, this might be the most realistic move.

The other option would be to play Francois Hougaard in the position where he has made 13 starts before for the Boks.

Hougaard took over behind the base of the scrum when Paige left the field and did well. He also got involved whenever Paige was occupied elsewhere.

And his physicality might be a bonus against the likes of Aaron Smith.

Coetzee, though, will weigh this up against Hougaard’s tendency to be a bit over-eager at times.

De Klerk, meanwhile, will also have to adjust to playing with a flyhalf such as Morné Steyn.

The lines he runs are very different to that of Elton Jantjies, who takes the ball up a little more flat.

And a combination of De Klerk, who likes to give a few steps and Steyn, who stands deep, will be yet another adjustment to make.

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