Coetzee: Why we don't need Rohan
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Allister Coetzee believes that his team has plenty of talent to fill both the inside centre and outside centre positions.
South Africa have yet to find their winning centre combinations as Lionel Mapoe (outside centre) and Damian de Allende (inside centre) were selected to start alongside each other in the Springboks first five matches of the year, despite Rohan Janse van Rensburg great form in Super Rugby for the Lions.
The Springboks lost two of their opening five matches (20-26 defeat against Ireland in Cape Town and a 24-26 defeat against Argentina in Salta) with Mapoe and De Allende forming the centre combination.
Mapoe and De Allende looked out of sorts on both attack and defence in their five appearances together as a centre pairing and they were both replaced in the starting line-up by Jesse Kriel (outside centre) and Juan de Jongh (inside centre) for South Africa’s Round Three and Round Four Rugby Championship matches against Australia (17-23 defeat in Brisbane) and New Zealand. (13-41 defeat in Christchurch).
Kriel and De Jongh have also failed to ignite the spark which the Springboks would have expected from them as a centre combination, which has led for calls from the South African media and public for Janse van Rensburg (inside centre) to be called up to the national team.
Janse van Rensburg had a breakthrough Super Rugby season with the Lions as his direct running style carried him over the tryline on no less than ten occasions.
Janse van Rensburg started alongside Springbok outside centre Lionel Mapoe throughout the Lions 2016 Super Rugby season, which saw them go all the way to the Final (3-20 defeat against the Hurricanes in Wellington) and it is believed that Janse van Rensburg might be the missing link to Mapoe finding his form with the Springboks.
However, Coetzee is adamant that he has selected the best available centres to don the green and gold jersey.
"I think what we have at the moment is fine.
"I'm really happy with our personnel at centre.
"I don't think we have any issues at centre really.
"I think our centres have performed well, they've defended well," Coetzee told reporters at the team's base in Johannesburg.
Coetzee added that he has been impressed with what he has seen from Kriel on both attack and defence.
"Jesse Kriel coming in at 13 really did well. He brought a lot of energy to the team - we scored two great tries against Australia from turnover possession, so our centres really did their job on the attack as well. I’m pleased with the centre combination," explained Coetzee.
When asked whether he has considered calling up Janse van Rensburg to the national team, Coetzee added that he has all his options covered at centre with the hard running De Allende still part of the squad.
"I don't think, I don't guess and I don't watch emotionally at the game. I look at stats and I look what we have and what these guys are capable of doing - you look at their strengths. We still have Damian de Allende as well, so I'm happy with the centres as it is at the moment," said Coetzee.
By Josh Isaacson