My colleagues suggested a squad to take on the international side in a warm-up match prior to facing Wales in June. The huge number of injured players, including the likes of Bakkies Botha and Francois Louw, obviously impacted on the choices. These two, amongst others, may be back by June, but whether Meyer will select them, remains to be seen. Then there is also the unavailability of players like JP Pietersen because of club commitments to muddy the selection waters.
The Springbok coach indicated that he will use the unofficial match to sharpen the skills of players like Botha and Louw who were laid off for an extensive period through injury.
The Moonstone selectors picked the following side:
1. Beast Mtawarira
2. Bismarck du Plessis
3. Jannie du Plessis
4. Bakkies Botha
5. Victor Matfield
There was general consensus that the tight five will look like this. Concerning the loose forwards, there was some differences of opinion, but the vote went the way of:
6. Schalk Burger
7. Willem Alberts
8. Duanne Vermeulen
The halfback selection also proved interesting:
9. Fourie du Preez
10. Morne Steyn
11. Brian Habana
12. Jean de Villiers
13. Juan de Jong
14. Willie le Roux
15. Francois Steyn
Other contenders were Heinrich Brüssow, Warren Whiteley, Damian de Allende, Sibusiso Sithole, JJ Engelbrect, Raymond Rhule, Handré Pollard and Bjorn Basson.
This is likely to elicit more dissent than the starting fifteen, especially if one looks at certain key positions like scrumhalf and the front row.
Ruan Pienaar is the current incumbent replacement in the number 9 jersey, mainly due to his kicking skills, but Cobus Reinach is, in the view of many (including non-Sharks) the in-form player. The stats show that Hougaard kicks more than most other SA Super 15 scrumhalves, albeit less effectively than Pienaar, but he is able to cover two positions from the bench. Pienaar possibly covers three.
Trevor Nyakane impressed lately, and may be included for his skills, rather than to appease the Minister of sport(s). Versatility may be the key here as well, and a player like Pat Cilliers may just get the nod ahead of some of the present incumbents, particularly as the side is now obliged to pick at least two reserve front rankers.
We look forward to a lively discussion from our armchair warriors