Kruger poses threat to Bok line-outsComment on this story
Cape Town - The Springboks have identified Juandre Kruger as a threat to their plans for Saturday's showdown when he plays for the World XV at Newlands.
Kruger has played over 70 games collectively at lock for the Blue Bulls and Bulls, and has 17 Springbok caps.
He has played at various times under Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and captain Victor Matfield over a period of four seasons.
Matfield is the brains behind the Springboks' lineout strategy and respected worldwide as the master of the modern lineout.
World XV coach Nick Mallett said in Cape Town on Wednesday that no one has mastered the nuances of the lineout like Matfield.
Last year, former All Blacks coach Graham Henry consulted Matfield while preparing lineout coaching notes.
“Graham Henry had a chat about lineouts with Victor,” said Mallett.
“Afterwards Henry was amazed at Victor's knowledge and couldn't believe that there was so much to know about lineouts.
“Victor has also been brilliant at interpreting the opposition's lineout calls.”
Despite the fact that Kruger plays in France, he is still on Meyer's radar and has been receiving mails sent to some foreign-based South African players which are kept informed on Springbok matters.
“Juandre is still very close to the team and if Victor got injured he would probably be the guy I would call up,” Meyer said earlier.
“Every now and then we (the Bok coaching staff) send out emails of all our lineouts and all our plays and Juandre is on our list.”
Meyer felt that Kruger was well equipped to play the role of lineout saboteur because he knows how the Boks' set-piece functions.
“He has run our lineouts and he will know exactly what we are going to do,” Meyer said.
“That is a concern. It is going to put more pressure on our lineouts and the way we play.”
The Boks are looking to use the lineout as a platform for a few of their staple attacking moves and Matfield said he may have come up with an alternative strategy.
“Maybe I will change a few things and look at how the Stormers do their lineouts with Duane Vermeulen,” said Matfield, who during his prime has never been bossed at lineout time.
“He (Kruger) knows our systems at the Boks very well. Most of the things he has learnt he probably did from me and Bakkies when he was a young guy at the Bulls.”
Prior to coming out of retirement early this year, Matfield was the Bulls' lineout coach, and Kruger was part of the Loftus-based squad then.
“I coached him last year at the Bulls when he was a Springbok,” said Matfield.
“So I must say this is one game where I am apprehensive about the lineouts.
“He knows exactly how I think and I carried over everything I know to him.
“So it will be a difficult challenge, but I am very lucky to have a lot of great jumpers around me, and we will use them all.”
On Saturday, Kruger joins up with former Springbok team-mate Alistair Hargreaves as the World XV's lock pairing and Mallett is savouring the prospect of using his Springboks to good effect.