By ELLIOT MATHYE
It seems it is not just raining but pouring at the Springbok camp as history seems to be repeating itself as injury might cost them in their preparation for their clash with Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, November 6.
Looking back in 2006, injuries had forced changes in the team and some it appears that the coaches are set to field players out of position in this crucial first match of a four test tour. In their first game four years ago, the Boks competed in a similar competition and former coach Jake White opted to field Bryan Habana at outside centre as one of his selections. However, this change proved to be a disaster, resulting in Boks losing dismally on a bitterly cold evening that was utterly forgettable for the South Africans present.
At the moment, controversial coach Peter de Villiers is planning use the same method White used four years ago, with Zane Kirchner expected to be named in the starting team. This announcement is still to be made at the Boks hotel today, November 4.
De Villiers is known for naming players out of position, and while many might argue that there are aggravating circumstances this time, it is interesting to note that such a selection would leave Adrian Jacobs sidelined. Jacobs was called up earlier this week after it was confirmed that Juan de Jongh was injured after leaving the field in the Currie Cup final last Saturday, November 30 and would not be able to tour.
However, should the backline be altered, it will be enough to cause Springbok supporters heart failures. It is also speculated that Deon Stegmann will make his debut at open side flank then the Boks chances of success would have been dramatically improved. Should De Villiers not come to his senses, the Sharks’ match-winning flyhalf Patrick Lambie is much anticipated to make his debut in the famously known No12 jersey. He played briefly for the Sharks from fullback to flyhalf in the Currie Cup season, but it is hardly a position he is familiar with.
Earlier this week, Ryan Kankowski was rumoured that he would be joining Juan Smith and Pierre Spies in the back row but that selection would not have made any sense against a team that includes Ace Fetcher and David Wallace. The Sharks front-row and the Bulls locks make up for a strong tight five and expectations are that Boks should be looking to carry them to victory.
Probable Springbok team: Gio Aplon, Bjorn Basson, Zane Kirchner, Jean de Villiers/Patrick Lambie, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Pierre Spies, Juan Smith, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (captain) , Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Bench: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Flip van der Merwe, Ryan Kankowski, Francois Hougaard, Lambie/AN Other, Lwazi Mvovo