Coenie to play tighthead

Heyneke Meyer intends to utilise Coenie Oosthuizen at tighthead prop during the Boks' end-of-year tour.

Tighthead has long been a troubling position for the Bok coach, where he has struggled to find a suitable understudy for Jannie du Plessis. Newcomer Julian Redelinghuys and Oosthuizen will provide cover for the end-of-year tour, but there remains uncertainty about the latter's aptitude in the position.

During last year's tour, Oosthuizen made his biggest statement at tighthead with an assured showing against France. However, since that performance in Paris, he has receded badly.

He struggled through the Super Rugby tournament, before being humiliated in the final league match against the Lions, where he gave away five scrum penalties, before being taken off early by Naka Drotské. Meyer selected him for the June Tests, but he was dropped for the Rugby Championship, with the coach suggesting at the time that he needed to work on his scrumming. The tighthead experiment looked to have failed.

However, with Frans Malherbe and Marcel van der Merwe missing the November Tests through injury, Meyer is willing to give Oosthuizen one more shot at tighthead, albeit as more of an impact role.

'Tighthead is one position that has frustrated me,' said Meyer. 'I think Jannie really deserves a medal. Last year Frans came through nicely but he's got injured again, while Marcel made huge strides in the last two Rugby Championship games, but he is also injured.

'I believe Coenie's best position is loosehead, he can hold his own there, but I'm going to use him as a tighthead as well. He brings so much to the game, besides his scrumming, and he can make a big impact off the bench.'

Besides Oosthuizen, another player whose selection came as somewhat of a surprise is Johan Goosen. The French-based flyhalf seems set for a new role at fullback.

'I believe Johan can be a brilliant all-round 15,' said Meyer. 'He's got all the attributes, he's big and strong, good in the air and he's got an unbelievable boot on him.

'The way we use our 15, coming in as a second flyhalf, like Willie [le Roux] does, I believe Johan can do the same.'

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