THE Springbok lock situation vaguely resembles quandaries former coach Heyneke Meyer faced from his early days at the helm of the national team.
In only his first Bok camp as head honcho‚ new coach Allister Coetzee has had to part with Pieter- Steph du Toit‚ who has been one of the in-form second-rowers in this season’s Super Rugby competition‚ due to a grade two hamstring injury.
When Meyer started his reign in 2012 he had to do without a retired Victor Matfield. He later had to contend with losing the likes of Bakkies Botha‚ Andries Bekker and Flip van der Merwe through retirement‚ overseas moves or injury.
The former Bok coach was left with no option but to fast-track the international careers of Eben Etzebeth‚ Lood de Jager and Du Toit‚ though even then Du Toit battled with recurring injuries.
The recent injury to Du Toit‚ suf fered last weekend in the Stormers-Cheetahs Super Rugby match, will hopefully not be a bad omen that will see Coetzee walking down the same path as his predecessor, often finding himself in a lock predicament.
Etzebeth also recently nursed himself back after a calf injury which saw him play only 40 minutes in his first match back from the injury‚ against the Bulls a fortnight ago.
Ahead of the Ireland three – test series this month‚ Coetzee is left with Etzebeth and De Jager as the most senior second-rowers in the team.
They were joined this week in camp by Lion Franco Moster t‚ not yet capped at international level. “I don’t think we need to panic much at the moment‚” 1995 World Cup-winning lock Krynauw Otto said yesterday.
“If you remember, just before the World Cup Heyneke pondered bringing back Andries Bekker.
Yet Etzebeth and De Jager ended up being the best Bok players at the tournament.”
The in-form domestic locks in Super Rugby have been Mostert and the Bulls pairing of R G Snyman and Jason Jenkins‚ who stood tall alongside the Stormers pair of Etzebeth and Du Toit.
Will Coetzee at some stage have to look at also fast-tracking the likes of the Bulls pair, both 21? “De Jager has not been in good form in Super Rugby‚ although he made life difficult in the last match against the Stormers when he faced Etzebeth.
“Then again‚ Lood doesn’t usually shine that much at provincial level‚ but when he puts on the green and gold he comes to life‚” Otto said.