‘Bekker is a valuable asset’

Six former Springboks on whether Japan-based Andries Bekker should be recalled to the Bok squad and which locks should go to the World Cup.

KRYNAUW OTTO (former Bok lock)

'Bekker will be an excellent addition to the Bok squad. He plays in Japan, so his body will be well rested and he's vastly experienced. He can also aid Victor Matfield in mentoring Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit, although Etzebeth has played more Tests than him. Bekker is a good lineout source, but also a strong ball-carrier, which will be handy in northern hemisphere conditions. Fitness permitting, Du Toit and Bekker should travel to England as backup for Matfield and Etzebeth.'

ROB LOUW (former Bok flank)

'Bekker should most certainly be recalled if he's available. With all the injuries our locks have suffered recently, his inclusion will only boost the Boks and I'm glad Heyneke Meyer sees it that way too. Another guy whose name I'd throw into the hat is Juandré Kruger. He has been in good form for Racing Métro and I'm surprised he hasn't been mentioned in the national set-up. I'd select Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Victor Matfield and Bekker for the Rugby Championship and World Cup and if there is an injury to one of them before or during those tournaments, Willem Alberts can cover in the second row depending on the availability of Flip van der Merwe.'

KOBUS WIESE (former Bok lock)

‘We definitely need Andries Bekker’s experience and playing ability going into the World Cup. Meyer should be looking at the in-form locks, so Eben Etzebeth, Bekker and Pieter-Steph du Toit if he’s fit. Lood de Jager and Franco Mostert are playing out of their skins at the moment and are outside candidates.'

GARRY PAGEL (former Bok prop)

'If Bekker is on form, then yes, he’s a valuable asset to a Springbok side. I would have him at the World Cup, as well as Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit if he manages to get fit in time. I would pick Flip van der Merwe too for his strength on the ground as well as the tackle, and his ability to grind down the opposition.'

MARK ANDREWS (former Bok lock)

'Bekker must definitely be selected if he’s playing half-decent rugby, because we’re short on fit, quality locks. Apart from Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit, a half-fit Bekker is as good as anyone else who is fully fit. The only other lock I’d take is Flip van der Merwe, due mostly to the Bulls style of rugby Meyer will probably play. You need someone to dominate the contact and breakdown, as well as play a style of rugby that will work in northern hemisphere conditions, and Flip does that well for the Bulls.'

COBUS VISAGIE (former Bok prop)

'I'd take Bekker because the Springboks rely so much on their lineout specialists and Victor Matfield will surely not be able to play every minute of every game. Bekker is an excellent jumper and he manages the lineouts and driving mauls well. Obviously Eben Etzebeth is the No 1 lock, so he picks himself. I'd have Bekker, Victor Matfield and Juandré Kruger, all of whom have experience of calling the lineouts in Test rugby, as my other options.'

Photo: Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images

Post by

Mariette Adams