Who can fill the boots of Francois Steyn?
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With the departure of Francois Steyn and the looming tour ahead, the Springboks have been left with an enormous pair of boots to fill. Ruan Pienaar is a great rugby player, but he is a scrumhalf and not a make shift fullback.
I think this point was put to rest in this years Tri-Nations when he was played there on the overseas leg of the tour.
I believe we need a specialist in the fullback position and not an all rounder. Especially with the style of kick and chase rugby currently adopted by the Springboks and now starting to be copied by oppositions.
My first choice in this position, should he have not had the injury to his leg, would have been Western Province’s Conrad Jantjies. But with him gone, it leaves us with only three choices: Earl Rose, Joe Petersen and Zayne Kirchner.
Earl Rose, the Cape Town born Lions player, should be the third choice. I am only writing about him because I know that his name is going to come up in the media.
Yes, he has talent, he runs good lines, and has a decent boot.
Unfortunately, he lacks the reliability we need. One could only imagine the errors that could creep into his game in the wet and soggy Northern Hemisphere conditions.
Western Province’s Joe Petersen has come a long way this season. He thoroughly deserves his nomination for Currie Cup player of the season.
He also has the advantage of being a very good goal kicker, which would be handy should something happen to Morne Stein.
The Bulls’ Zayne Kirchner has earned his call up.
He is very used to the style of rugby that the Springboks play from his seasons with the Bulls. He is physical and good under the high ball, which is going to be a tougher task for any fullback in the conditions that will present themselves in the Northern Hemisphere.
He will also, more than likely, feel comfortable with the players around him, making the transition a lot easier.
He will need to be given a couple of games to find his feet, though, in the massive shoes he will be trying to fill. Let’s hope that the less than patient South African public gives him the chance he deserves.
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