Flyhalf dilemma for Bok coach

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:04
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: There is a strong case for Handre Pollard to wear the Springboks' No.10 jersey for their tour opener against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Regular flyhalf Elton Jantjies has been an inconsistent performer this season and the Boks will be needing a general to control play against the likes of Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray.

Jantjies has also just recently joined up with the Boks from his club in Japan, while Pollard has been with the Boks for the last couple of weeks.

"I think the question to ask is with Elton being away for a couple of weeks now and not training with us, is do I go with Elton or do I go with Pollard who has trained with us?" Coetzee told reporters in Dublin.

"That is the decision I have got to make in terms of how well prepared Elton is going to be for the game versus Pollard who has been with us for three weeks."

Jantjies and Ross Cronje have been Coetzee's preferred combination at flyhalf and scrumhalf this season and the Bok coach has been pleased with their performances so far. 

"I think we have struck a great balance and compared to last year the territory and the number of line-outs were always in the right areas of the field and we could attack from those line-outs," Coetzee added.

"I think our strategy has been good. I am happy with that. We get the line-outs in the right side of the field and hopefully, we can continue and build on that. 

"Our backs have done the job. Ross Cronje and Elton have really played well and they have been consistent. Obviously, you will get your off days as well, but I am pleased with the way they have gone."

Meanwhile, Coetzee does not believe his team will have a big advantage in terms of cohesion and match readiness over Ireland.

The Boks are coming off a tough Rugby Championship campaign, while Ireland are only beginning their international season

"I don't know how much advantage there is really. If you are a group of players that have been together for a while, it doesn't really take long to get back on your horse because they have been in the Irish side for a number of years.

"Once you have that continuity it doesn't really matter," said the Bok coach.