Wynona Louw.
Allister Coetzee wants continuity in terms of his selections. That we all know.

And it makes sense. It makes sense to want to allow the current crop of Springbok players a decent chance to prove themselves. A decent chance to gel. A decent chance to gain international experience.

It makes sense to want to give them a chance to redeem themselves if needed. That I get. 

But it also makes sense to reward outstanding form - form that hasn’t been given adequate time to make its transition from Super Rugby and Currie Cup to Test rugby. 

And Allister is certainly on board with the notion of rewarding form, or so it seems - after all, he has spoken about it a lot, especially before and during the June internationals.

Now, there’s a number of players who (completely justifiably) jump to mind when you think of that outstanding form. Players like Ruan Combrink and Rohan Janse van Rensburg (yes, I will continue to beat that drum). 

But the player I’m thinking about as I write this piece is Dillyn Leyds.

Leyds, who was included in the Bok squad ahead of their Rugby Championship match against Argentina in Port Elizabeth, was released for Currie Cup duty before the opening Test, and in the build-up to the Boks’ tour to Australasia, his name again formed part of the Bok list. 

But when the Springboks travelled to Perth to take on the Wallabies, he was again absent from the Bok bench.

And when the Boks took on France earlier this year in what turned out to be the start of their renaissance, Leyds enjoyed about the same amount of game time in those three weeks as the guys who were left behind with their Super Rugby franchises during the June break did - practically nothing.

So, despite his involvement in the Boks’ preparations, Leyds is yet to be “rewarded” for his form. And I think it’s about time that he is.

The current Bok back three of Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan and Raymond Rhule have been running out as the starting outside backs since June, and while Andries has been reliable at the back until Saturday (he wasn’t a complete let-down in Perth, but he did make a few unforced errors), Skosan and Rhule have had six almost-full games to prove themselves. 

And at times they have done enough to pass the Bok-wing test, but they’ve also been left wanting.

Regardless of how the Bok wings have performed until now, that is not the point. The point is that they’ve been given a string of starting berths, a string of opportunities to either cement their place in the team or nudge Allister to start broadening the scope of his radar.

Dillyn Leyds featured for the Springboks off the bench against France, but hasn't played in a Test since. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

And at the very least, the versatile Leyds deserves a chance to provide the Springbok backline with the same kind of impact that the forwards have boosted the Bok pack with.

The Stormers back can cover wing and fullback, and not only does he offer electrifying pace, he’s also a good organiser and dangerous with ball-in-hand. 

Oh yes, he also offers a valuable (and much-needed) boot, and the fact that he has no issues securing the high ball can only count in the Boks’ favour. His selection would just make sense.

And then there’s the question as to why Leyds was left out of the match-day squad on the weekend while the Boks picked two “centres” in Damian de Allende and Handré Pollard.

After naming his group for the tour to Australasia, Allister said: “I believe he (Pollard) is fit and ready to go, and he will be utilised in a versatile role, covering centre too.” 

Pollard was obviously there to offer back-up for Elton Jantjies. But still.

Leyds has done wonders for the Stormers and Western Province this year. So I really hope he gets a chance this weekend against the All Blacks to evoke a new conversation in the rugby circles.

A conversation centred around not when he will get his real Springbok chance, but how he made use of the chance he got.


Cape Times