Why Serfontein has inside track at Boks

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 06:00

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is determined to use specialists in their preferred positions as they look to wrap up the Test series against France.

The loss of Jesse Kriel to concussion, suffered in the second half of the 37-14 win over the French in Pretoria this past weekend, means there will be a change in midfield for the second Test in Durban this coming Saturday.

However, rather than shift seasoned midfielder Jan Serfontein one position out to No.13 and bringing another veteran, Frans Steyn in at inside centre, it is most likely that Lionel Mapoe will come in at outside centre.

Coetzee said Serfontein was "outstanding" in the first Test and he was reluctant to make too many changes for the Kings Park Test - which could see the Boks wrap up the series.

"He provided the balance with his experience," Coetzee said of the 24-year-old Serfontein.

"That is what you want from a player with 27 Test caps.

"[He has an] unbelievable workrate and helping [flyhalf] Elton [Jantjies] as well.

"The combination of [scrumhalf] Ross [Cronje] and Elton worked really well.

"I looked at Jan and Jesse as a combination. It is unfortunate Jesse has to sit out this week. He will be available for the third Test and hopefully they [Serfontein and Kriel] can get another opportunity to play together."

He made it clear that he is not considering moving Serfontein to outside centre and bring Steyn at No.12.

"I would settle for a specialist outside centre," the coach said, adding: "Jan played such a good and import role for us at No.12.

"I would not want to shift him. I would stick with Jan at No.12 and come with Lionel [Mapoe], or whomever, at No.13."

He described Mapoe's return from injury is a "timely boost" and said the Lions midfielder has been part of the team evolvement, so it is great to have him available and ready to go.

Coetzee said the Boks will work hard this week to improve on their game as they look to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Coetzee reiterated that while he is pleased with the positive start to the series, his team is looking for improvement on their Loftus performance.

"I am very happy with the effort of the team, they did well and got the job done in Pretoria," said Coetzee.

"However, for us it is a process and were are looking forward to more improvement in all aspects of our game and that is why we will work extremely hard during training this week, starting with today's session."

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