Now that the euphoria of the Springbok squad announcement has died down, it’s time to get real.
And the reality is that four of the current national squad members will be “released”, putting it mildly, to the SA “A” squad for their series against the England Saxons.
You only have to look at the SA “A” squad to see what they need and then compare it to the Bok squad to see in which positions they have a surplus to get an idea of who the “victims” will be.
Francois Brummer is down as the only option at fullback in the SA “A” team.
But a look at the Bok squad also doesn’t reveal too many options at the back of the line.
Willie le Roux is the incumbent, while Jesse Kriel, Pat Lambie and newcomers Garth April and Ruan Combrinck can cover that position.
I get the feeling that April might be the one sacrificed here.
The next-in-liners are also thin in the midfield – with only Francois Venter and Howard Mnisi being recognised centres in the squad, while Lukhanyo Am can also play there.
There are four midfielders in the Bok squad – Kriel, Damian de Allende, Jan Serfontein and Lionel Mapoe.
And if Kriel is going to be used as a utility player off the bench, it would make sense for Serfontein to help out the second string.
Either this or he might play off the bench for the Boks, with Kriel being tested at a higher level at fullback with the “A” team.
Up front, the “A” team only has three loose- forwards – Nizaam Carr, Oupa Mohoje and Jean-Luc du Preez. And you can be sure that one of the Bok loosies will join them.
The smart money would be on Sikhumbuzo Notshe to get a run at a higher level than what he is used to, meaning in the “A” team, while Jaco Kriel might also be pushed down because of the involvement of Francois Louw in the national team.
The fourth place will be a debatable one.
If Coetzee decides on two hookers only, either Scarra Ntubeni or Bongi Mbonambi will fall out, while lock Franco Mostert is another candidate to re-join the A team.