The Hulk is generally considered a hazard to everyone and everything around him. He is a monster. When he is angry he is unstoppable. He is a green behemoth with juggernaut like momentum. He smashes, he bashes and all around him buildings crash…es…
He is, in short, what the Springboks are supposed to be. As much as we’d all like to watch the Springboks win games with silky handling and sublime backline play, it just isn’t going to happen? Why? Because the Springboks are not agile like Spiderman or fast like the Flash or even smart like Batman.
No, The Springboks are big, mean and green like the Hulk.
It is time to dispense with this “expansive game-plan” folly once and for all. Harry Viljoen tried it and failed. Pieter de Villiers tried it and failed. Carel du Plessis… Well, he didn’t even last one season.
The Springboks need to be big and mean and smash opposition teams to a pulp and to that end they need to pick the right players. If I were Alistair Coetzee I’d try to select the biggest best 23 guys I could find.
In an ideal world with no transformation agenda, injuries or inept management by SARU I would pick the following squad against Australia.
- Stephen Kitshoff (120 kg)
- Bismarck du Plessis (114kg)
- Julian Redlinguys (110kg)
- Pieter Steph du Toit (114kg)
- Eben Etzebeth (123kg)
- Paul Schoeman (108kgs)
- Jean Luc or Dan du Preez (113kg)
- Duane Vermuelen (116kg) Warren Whitely (106kgs) Captain
- Francois Hougaard (93kg)
- Francois Steyn (110kg)
- JP Pietersen (106kg)
- Andre Estherhuysen (102kg)
- Rohan Janse van Rensberg (108kg)
- Willie Le roux (90kgs)
- Jesse Kriel (95kgs)
- Malcolm Marx (119kg)
- Beast Mtawaria (116kg)
- OX Nche (105kg) or Lizo Gkoboka
- Lood de Jager (125kg) or JP du Preez (2.09m and 115kgs)
- Jean Luc or Dan du Preez (113kg) or Hanro Liebenberg
- Faf de Klerk (66kg) (he is big in spirit)
- Handre Pollard (96kg)
- Pat Lambie (90kg) / Johan Goosen (90kg)
Now I’m not saying the Springboks shouldn’t play intelligent rugby or that they should play dirty. What I am saying is that they should play to their strengths. South Africa has a reputation for producing large, strong, hard rugby players. The Springboks have always instilled a certain apprehension in their opponents, because those opponents know that they’ll finish the match bruised and sore and with stories to tell about how they sidestepped a 120kg bus called Willem Alberts only to be hit backwards by a 110kg flyhalf…
Beauden Barrett will be a lot more wary of running at Frans Steyn and Andre Estherhuysen than say, Elton Jantjies and Juan de Jongh. Elton and Juan are solid enough tacklers but they don’t have the ability to hit guys backwards behind the advantage line.
What do they have to lose? The Rugby Championship is lost.