After the Boks’ inept performance that led to their defeat against Argentina in Mendoza a fortnight ago, it has become glaringly obvious that changes need to be made to the starting line-up particularly at loose forward and in the midfield.
Who will be top of Erasmus’ culling list is former captain Warren Whiteley along with Francois Louw who both have offered little to the forwards’ charge and have further exacerbated the imbalance that was already there in the loose-forward trio.
While captain Siya Kolisi has not really set the world alight with his performances either, the man with no specific designation within the loose trio showed some glimpses of his ball-carrying abilities in Mendoza and for that he should be retained along with the fact that he is the captain of the side. Who then must Erasmus consider to bolster the loose forwards.
Well, Marco van Staden did a sterling job for the Bulls at No 6 and was one of Super Rugby’s top turnover specialists which will come in handy when playing against the Wallabies who thrive on possession.
Van Staden is also a proven ball carrier and doesn’t stand back in getting involved in the dirty work, which is often left to the tight five to do.
Sikhumbuzo Notshe may be seen as a super sub in the same mould as Bobby Skinstad, but it would be worth the exercise for Erasmus to have the Stormers No 8 start the game as the Boks look to inject some speed from the kick-off and Notshe would be the kind of link man that Erasmus is looking for.
The midfield is also a cause for concern as the Sharks pairing of Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am have been sterile, particularly on attack while their defence has looked shaky at best in the two Tests against the Pumas. This is where Erasmus will probably be tempted to go for the experience of Damian De Allende and Jesse Kriel, who both had stellar outings with the national team at the same venue three years ago.
At the same time Erasmus will also be faced with another selection poser at flyhalf on whether to persist with the misfiring Handre Pollard or hand Elton Jantjies another opportunity, or unleash the inexperienced but exciting talent that is Damian Willemse.
And if change in personnel is the key to unlocking the Boks’ return to winning ways then the uncapped Cheslin Kolbe’s involvement, even off the bench, could be vital in seeing the team to victory.