Back to the future: Home v away
Fri, 03 Jan 2014 08:13
What changes would you make?
Heyneke Meyer's decision to make liberal use of players based abroad sparked a renewed debate over the home-versus-away Springbok issue.
New Zealand and Australia have strict policies, which works for them.
Meyer, as he showed this past year, feels he can benefit from making use of the large number of quality players based abroad - as he builds his squad for the 2015 World Cup.
I just happen to agree with the Bok mentor, that there is value in using players like JP Pietersen, Jaque Fourie, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Francois Louw and Bakkies Botha when they are available.
There are a few others who can come into the selection frame to ensure the Boks have both depth and experience aplenty in 2015.
But what I found more intriguing was looking at the players who are available - home and away - and how they stack up against each other.
It is an exercise in futility, but I decided to select two fully-fledged teams - one from players based in South Africa and another from players based abroad.
I managed to come up with two well-balanced teams that will - should they ever meet on the playing field - make for an intriguing match.
It also showed just how much depth is at Meyer's disposal, although some of their appearances will be limited by their clubs.
My selection policy was simple: Each player must be listed as a Springbok. It does rule out a few quality players playing abroad, such as CJ Stander and Willem Petrus (WP) Nel.
And, of course a good number of Boks will be sitting on the sideline.
Players like Schalk Burger, Johann Muller, Pierre Spies, Peter Grant, Ryan Kankowski, Tiaan Liebenberg, Zane Kirchner, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Bjorn Basson, Flip van der Merwe, Elton Jantjies, Marcell Coetzee, Juandré Kruger and Trevor Nyakane were among those considered.
All things considered, I feel the home-based Boks may have a slight edge, but I would not put my house on it!
Home-based XV: 15 Willie le Roux (Cheetahs), 14 JJ Engelbrecht (Bulls), 13 Jean de Villiers (Stormers, captain), 12 Frans Steyn (Sharks), 11 Gio Aplon (Stormers), 10 Johan Goosen (Cheetahs), 9 Piet van Zyl (Bulls), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Stormers), 7 Willem Alberts (Sharks), 6 Siya Kolisi (Stormers), 5 Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Sharks), 3 Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks), 1 Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks).
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs), 17 Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), 18 Lourens Adriaanse (Sharks), 19 Franco van der Merwe (Lions), 20 Arno Botha (Bulls), 21 Charl McLeod (Sharks), 22 Jan Serfontein (Bulls), 23 Pat Lambie (Sharks).
Overseas-based XV: 15 Riaan Viljoen (Japan), 14 JP Pietersen (Japan), 13 Jaque Fourie (Japan), 12 Robert Ebersohn (France), 11 Bryan Habana (France), 10 Morne Steyn (France), 9 Fourie du Preez (Japan), 8 Danie Rossouw (France), 7 Heinrich Brüssow (Japan), 6 Francois Louw (England), 5 Andries Bekker (Japan), 4 Bakkies Botha (France), 3 BJ Botha (Ireland), 2 Schalk Brits (England), 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (France).
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle (France), 17 Brian Mujati (France), 18 Gurthro Steenkamp (France), 19 Juan Smith (France), 20 Gerhard Mostert (France), 21 Jano Vermaak (France), 22 Wynand Olivier (France), 23 Ruan Pienaar (Ireland).
By Jan de Koning
* Did I miss anybody? What changes would you make?
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