Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers believes Damian Willemse should start at flyhalf instead of Johan Goosen on the Springboks’ year-end tour to Europe.
Goosen was the only No. 10 on a 26-man Bok squad announced on Tuesday for a training camp in Stellenbosch.
Goosen has not demonstrated enough. Certainly, his form prior to injury was fantastic, but I don’t believe he has shown the same form since returning “De Villiers stated this at a URC round-table media event on Tuesday. “The Bulls’ current form hasn’t helped either.”
Willie le Roux, according to De Villiers, should start at fullback, allowing him and Willemse to link well between the two positions.
“If I had to start a game tomorrow, I’d start Damian Willemse at 10 and Willie le Roux at 15. I really like the balance it brings to the team. Yes, one has 10 on his back and the other 15, but they can interlink and change positions in that position, which I believe is very beneficial.
“You also have the left-right kicking combination if you want to kick off 10. And defensively, Damian is very strong in that channel… and offensively, depending on where you are on the field, they can interchange.”
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber told reporters on Tuesday that Pollard, his first-choice flyhalf, was unlikely to be ready for the tour.
The 28-year-old playmaker limped off his debut for Leicester Tigers two weeks ago and has since undergone knee surgery.
“Handre had surgery following the Tigers game and is currently in rehab. Given the latest information I have on him, I believe he will struggle to make the tour “Nienaber stated.
“Things happen, but I think he’s still on his way back, and I think it’ll be a tough one for him to make the tour.”
De Villiers admitted that he was concerned about the Boks’ potential flyhalf dilemma.
“From a South African perspective, position 10 is the most concerning. Pollard is injured, and Willemse can fill in, but I still believe that 12 is his best position.
“And then there’s the question of what comes next. I don’t think it’s appropriate to include Elton Jantjies in that group because he needs to work on his personal life, which, in my opinion, is far more important than rugby.
“Flyhalf is the position where not a lot of answers were given throughout the Rugby Championship, and that’s definitely going to be a big concern going into the tour,” De Villiers said.
The Boks’ preparations for their end-of-year tour will begin this Sunday in Stellenbosch with the selection of 26 players.
The three-day training camp will bring together 17 South African players and nine players currently playing in Japan.
They will be in camp until Wednesday, October 26th, with a few of the players returning to their teams for URC duty a few days later.