Coetzee banking on Cronje's 'basics'

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 12:42

INJURY UPDATE: Scrumhalf Ross Cronje will probably be the most important player returning to the Springbok side for their clash against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Cronje did not take part in his side's 0-57 defeat to the All Blacks in Albany in Round Four of this year's Rugby Championship due to a "viral illness", but he is expected to start against the Wallabies with Springbok team doctor Konrad von Hagen giving him the all clear.

Scrumhalf Francois Hougaard was elevated to the starting side to replace Cronje for that clash against the All Blacks and the 29-year-old had a torrid time in the defeat.

Hougaard has since been left out of Coetzee's squad for their remaining two Rugby Championship matches in South Africa.

"I am not going to go an explain every individual player and why he is left out. 

"The reason for Francois Hougaard obviously, he is a fantastic rugby player and it is just that he hasn't been playing regularly at nine. It has not helped the technical ability for him to be a great scrumhalf at Test match level. 

"Unfortunately, that is the case and it hasn't gone well. It is important that our No.9s function really well and I just think technically at that level it has been a struggle for him."

Coetzee believes Cronje's combination with flyhalf Eton Jantjies will bolster the side for the clash against the Wallabies.  

"With the combination with Elton, it helps a lot because there is synergy and they understand each other very well. Ross does the basics well - a player like [Rudy] Paige does the basics well. Louis Schreuder has got good basics.

"One has to look at that [basics] as important for the way we want to play for any ball in hand game to make sure the backs and Elton gets that bit of space and time on the ball and Louis Schreuder is basically a player who has shown that form as well for the Kings and for the Sharks now. 

"He has been instrumental in the Sharks' [Currie Cup] performance this year. He has played really well and if you look at the future going forward he is 27, he is mature and has got age on his side," Coetzee added.

Meanwhile, Von Hagen confirmed that injured captain Warren Whiteley is on track with his rehabilitation. Whiteley could be fit in time for the Boks' end-of-year tour.

Prop Coenraad Oosthuizen is expected to be out of action for another six weeks after he fractured his forearm.

By Warren Fortune

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