Meyer's Bok juggling act

Wed, 25 Sep 2013 14:06
Large ruan and bismarck.jpg630 Large fourie du preez boks traini

Heyneke Meyer is hoping to maximise the potential of the talent at his disposal by rotating his players in the key positions of hooker and scrumhalf.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is hoping to maximise the potential of the talent at his disposal by rotating his players in the key positions of hooker and scrumhalf.

The only two changes to the starting line-up to take on the Wallabies at Newlands on Saturday saw Adriaan Strauss and Fourie du Preez come in for Bismarck du Plessis and Ruan Pienaar respectively, which were calls that Meyer made some weeks ago.

The Bok coach believes that he has four top class players at his disposal, and as those two positions see more of the ball than any other he is keen to keep them all as sharp as possible.

"I want to make it clear that I didn't drop those two players. Before the start of the competition I told them exactly which games they were going to start and which game they were not going to start.

"I think especially with your hooker and your nine you need fresh guys and the other guys come on as impact players for 30 minutes, so I think the players know where they stand and we have got continuity in the group now," he explained.

Meyer said that whilst form is obviously important in selection, he feels that the quality of players that he has in those two positions affords him the luxury of getting the most out of them through planned rotation.

"Performance is the most important thing and I have told the players that I am not loyal to players but performance. But if you sit with probably the two best hookers in the world it is so much easier to rotate them.

"I don't do it with all the players, but there are certain guys that you need to give a chance and keep them fresh and going.

"The biggest thing between a coach and players is trust, mostly I stick to my word and before the start of the competition I told Adriaan that he was going to start this game and I can even tell you now that Bismarck is going to start the next game so don't read too much into it.

"I am a very simple person and a simple coach, this is a team that I picked maybe two or three weeks ago and the players know where they stand," he said.

The Bok coach explained that due to the nature of the hooker and scrumhalf positions specifically, it is preferable to have as many options as possible going forward.

"I just believe that you can't have one nine and one hooker playing the whole time with one guy coming on for five to ten minutes and then suddenly he must start.

"Those are probably your main guys in your gameplan that gets the team going and those are the two positions where they touch the ball the most so I always like to have two quality hookers and two quality nines.

"We have been lucky in those positions I think we have world class players, if you look at the number of caps that they have got they are not youngsters, three out of the four have played 50 Test matches which is brilliant.

"I have got a lot of confidence in those players, not just as players but as leaders as well which is what you need in those two positions," he said.

By Michael de Vries