Boks go left and right in the centre

Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:36
Large jan serfontein   morne stey
Jan Serfontein has been named out of position for the Springboks' match against the Wallabies but Heyneke Meyer has a plan to fit in his best two centres.
Jan Serfontein has been named out of position at No.13 for the Springboks' game against the Wallabies in Perth, but coach Heyneke Meyer has a cunning plan to fit in his best two centres.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer announced on Wednesday that Jan Serfontein would be playing out of position in the outside centre berth, alongside captain and regular No.12 - Jean de Villiers.
Meyer has faced quite a lot of criticism for not selecting an out-and-out No.13 in his squad, opting rather to play players out of position to fill the role.
His first experiment was to play Stormers wing and inside centre, Damian de Allende in the position against the Argentineans. While not a total failure it seems Meyer has returned to the drawing board.
"I wanted to have a look at Damian de Allende because he was injured in June," the coach said from the Springbok base in Perth after announcing his team.
"I believe he has done well, but I feel this [reverting him to the bench] is the best thing for this game.
"Damian is there to come on from the bench and he will learn from the experience."
Meyer believes that captain De Villiers and young Serfontein are his  best two form centres available and as such is looking for a way for them to play beside each other.
"I think Jan's [Serfontein] best position is No.12 but they [he and De Villiers] will probably interchange like in the olden days," Meyer continued.
"Left and right centre, [as opposed to the classical inside and outside] - but I still believe Jan's best position is No.12.
"Nowadays there is not much difference between the two centres, and for us, I believe they are ourbest two centres at the moment on form.
"They will interchange and keep the opposition guessing. We will use both of their strengths."
The idea of using centres left and right has been done before by Meyer, both at the Bulls and with the Springboks more recently.
De Villiers has played in a left-right centre combinations with Johannes Jacobus (JJ) Engelbrecht under Meyer for the Springboks before, while the coach has also experimented with the idea at the Bulls with Wynand Olivier and JP Nel.
The Springbok coach believes by doing this he will be able to get the best out of both of his centres and they will be able to play to their different strengths in the alternating roles.
"I thought Jan [Serfontein] was outstanding in the June Tests when Jean [De Villiers] was injured. Obviously, when you captain comes back you want to play him in his best position.
"At No.13 you have the most difficult position to defend and I feel that Jean is very experienced there," Meyer went on explaining his tactic.
"He is a great defender and he will help there on defence."
The Springboks take on Australia in Perth in their third Rugby Championship match. Currently sitting on top of the table with two wins, they will be wary of the wounded Wallabies who suffered a 50-point hiding at the hands of the All Blacks most recently.