Lambie and Aplon in Bok mixComment on this story
If he stays fit and healthy, Patrick Lambie will play at fullback when the Springboks clash with England in the second Test on Saturday.
The Sharks fullback is set to take over the No 15 jersey from Zane Kirchner, who has been ruled out of the match because of a knee injury. And newcomers to the squad, Gio Aplon and Dean Greyling, are also in line to be included in the match-22.
Lambie, who played off the bench in the first Test win in Durban last weekend and made a big impact after replacing Kirchner, will return to the position he featured in during last year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
Asked whether it was “a formality” Lambie would take over the fullback berth, Bok boss Heyneke Meyer said: “Nothing’s a given in this team. But Pat did very well last weekend when he came on and the chances of him being there are good.”
Meyer added bringing Lambie straight into the run-on side would assist him in achieving continuity in the side.
“We’d like to create some momentum and rhythm… Pat is a great fullback, but this goes to show how good the squad system is. It’s a little easier for everyone after the camps we had and the group we’ve got here.”
Meyer’s big decision will be who to pick on the bench… a specialist or a “generalist”. There are no other specialist fullbacks in the squad, but Meyer may consider Aplon a specialist or he can go for Bjorn Basson or Lwazi Mvovo.
Greyling, who joins the squad on Tuesday as cover for Coenie Oosthuizen, who hurt his neck at the weekend, might also go straight into the match-22 should the Cheetahs man be ruled out. Oosthuizen was set to undergo a scan on his neck and shoulder on Monday night.
“Gio and Dean were among the unlucky ones when the squad was named,” said Meyer. “They’re both quality players and it’s up to them now to take the step up… they’ve both got a chance of making the 22.”
The other option for the front row is Greyling’s fellow Bulls teammate, Werner Kruger.
“Coenie is a brilliant player, he brings something special to the team… he’s got the X-factor. His performance at tighthead when he came on in the second half was very impressive and he’s got a great career ahead of him.
“If he is ruled out, it’s going to be tough who to pick on the bench… both men are quality players and I have confidence in them,” said Meyer.
The Bok boss again expressed his relief at getting the first week out of the way… and a win to go with it, to boot. “I am relieved and a little more comfortable (that the first week is done), but it’s important to keep the pressure on the players and to stay humble; to keep our feet on the ground.
“We certainly don’t want to go into a comfort zone. England will come back at us strongly and we’re going to have to make a big step up; we’ve got higher standards than we achieved in Durban. It’s going to be an awesome battle this week… that’s the really great thing about a three-Test series – you’ve got to be on top of your game each week.”
The Bok boss further stated the pressure on the side to seal the series win this weekend was more an internal thing than coming from the public. “We like to put pressure on ourselves… we want to improve the whole time and in every game.
“We want to be the best team in the world. It’s a must-win every time we run out… we want to make our country proud.”