Schalk Brits backs Springbok hooker Joseph Dweba to bounce back from his forgettable Test start in Joburg when the world champions square up against Australia on Saturday.
Dweba has retained the No 2 jersey to face the Wallabies in Adelaide, having been substituted early in the Rugby Championship defeat by the All Blacks at Ellis Park after a disappointing display.
In a wide-ranging interview with Sport24, Brits said it is difficult for Dweba – who made his first starting XV appearance for the Boks in only his third Test – to fill the boots of first- and second-choice rakes Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx.
“Joseph is an exciting and hardworking player and he will get better. I guess it doesn’t help when there’s a world-class guy [in Marx] on the bench and he’s one of the best in the business,” the 2019 World Cup winner said.
“Bongi puts in the hard work, from where the Bomb Squad comes in, but I feel for Joseph. You can only gain confidence with getting more game time.
“He’s not new to the squad, but he’s new to the starting role and he’s learning that there’s a level up from franchise rugby. You wouldn’t be wearing the shirt if you didn’t back yourself, so I think Joseph has every reason to be proud of his abilities. He’ll be very confident in his skill set that’ll be able to help him fulfil the job that’s required from him by the Bok management.”
Jacques Nienaber named the Bok match-day squad on Monday that included the recall of undercooked veterans Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn, and the strange omission of in-form playmaker Willie le Roux.
Brits added: “At times, certain selections do come across as odd, but there would be a reason that would be explained within the team.
“People would want the best players to play because the best team will give you the best possibility of winning. Squad selection, though, always has more to the eye, especially looking towards the future, than it has in the short term.”