CAPE TOWN – One door closes, another opens for the Springboks.
Following the humiliating 57-0 meltdown against the All Blacks in Albany at the weekend, Bok coach Allister Coetzee would’ve received the news that flank Jaco Kriel has been ruled out for the rest of the year due to a shoulder injury.
Kriel’s speed across the ground and high work rate was one of the key compartments of the Bok breakdown strategy in their 23-23 draw against the Wallabies in Perth.
But his absence at the North Harbour Stadium at the weekend saw the All Blacks generate lightning-quick ball when they went into contact, which didn’t allow the Springbok defence to organise themselves at times as they conceded eight tries.
Kriel posted on Instagram on Tuesday that he will be out of rugby for the next six months, which was a huge blow to the Bok set-up as he brought a new dynamic to the loose trio alongside Siya Kolisi as they hunted the breakdowns as a pair.
As much as Jean-Luc du Preez’s physicality is immense, he lacks the pace to keep up with the likes of Sam Cane and Liam Squire on the side of the All Black scrum, while his handling and ball-carrying skills didn’t really come to the fore either on Saturday.
But despite there being a number of excellent loose forwards in South Africa – such as the Southern Kings’ Andisa Ntsila, Stormers duo Nizaam Carr and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Bulls No 7 Jannes Kirsten and others – Bok coach Allister Coetzee is set to turn to experience in the shape of Francois Louw, especially with captain Warren Whiteley also set to remained sidelined with his groin injury.
A post shared by Jaco Kriel (@jakesk6) on
The Bath flank was mentioned by Coetzee as a possibility in an interview with SuperSport this week, and Louw – who has 52 Test caps – said that there is a chance to return to the national set-up.
“I am on standby (for South Africa),” the 32-year-old Louw told the Bath Chronicle newspaper.
“Whether or not they decide to use me, obviously there’s been a couple of injuries, but I think they’ve got enough good men there to do a good job.
“I’m obviously torn, as I’ve always been, whether I’m playing there or playing here.
“It’s a huge honour to play for your country. Any player who has represented their country can tell you that, but this is my club and a team I’m obviously very passionate about.”
The Springboks’ next Test is against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein on September 30, followed by the All Blacks at Newlands on October 7.