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Wed Nov 26 12:00:46 SAST 2014

Meyer does flyhalf juggle

Simnikiwe Xabanisa | 08 November, 2012 00:09
Simnikiwe Xabanisa
Image by: SUPPLIED

The great thing about announcing a Springbok squad which includes a character named Player 32 is that you can't possibly go wrong.

The catch is that even with the match-day squad extended to 23 these days, not only is Heyneke Meyer going to struggle to please everyone, his selections for the Tests will also betray his real thought processes.

The first such pothole is how to fit the three flyhalves on tour into one spot.

Meyer is on record as saying the three are all auditioning to be injured Johan Goosen's understudy, going to the 2015 World Cup.

Ignoring for a second the wisdom of installing an injured and unproven 20-year-old as your No1, the decision is unfair to the ambitions of the three flyhalves on tour.

Meyer has, somewhat unnecessarily given that the next World Cup is in three years' time, promised each a fair crack at being Goosen's No2 on this tour.

It's difficult to see how that can happen unless he is going to start each player in the three matches, which is highly unlikely as the first match on tour sets the tone for the rest of the trip.

After being seen as a non-playing fullback, Pat Lambie is suddenly starting at stand-off against Ireland.

It's one of those decisions which has one wondering: has the coach actually been swayed by the player's performances of late or is there something else on the go?

Could it be that Lambie is being given one of those chances where the idea is to expose his limitations to his multitude of supporters?

Of the three, Lambie's tactical kicking isn't the best, yet the game will be played in wet and windy conditions.

That said, it is difficult to see a coach picking a player - a flyhalf nogal - to fail in order to prove a point.

Morne Steyn has made the tour via a backdoor set of circumstances consisting of the way he plays (kicking flyhalf) and the fact that the coach is holding out hope that he will once again play for the Boks like it's 2009.

By the looks of it, he has been earmarked for the role of an impact player or, more to the point, insurance on the bench in case the youngsters cock up their "opportunity".

Despite making a lot of his Super rugby appearances as Derick Hougaard's understudy at the Bulls, one gets the impression his super-sub days are behind him.

Steyn will also be 31 by the time the next World Cup rolls around. That in itself is not a bad thing, but the kids - all of whom are gifted - will be three years older.

Besides, it's not like we're nursing Dan Carter to the next World Cup here.

Elton Jantjies, who has not always been a Meyer favourite if recent non-selections are anything to go by, is nominally the man in possession simply by having been on the bench when Goosen got crocked.

Jantjies has missed out on Saturday's 23 and might need one of the other two to either be shocking or injured to "force" his way into the team.

A terrible Currie Cup semifinal seems to have counted against Jantjies. The strange thing is how his off-day against Western Province is not seen in the same light as Lambie's so-so effort against the same team in the final.

Ditto Jantjies's dominant performance in the Lions Currie Cup win last year: it seems to have been forgotten, while Lambie's appears to be etched in memory.

By making his declaration, Meyer has put the flyhalves under unnecessary pressure when next year's Super 15 season will give him a more stable indication of what they have to offer.

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