‘Fringe Boks needed game time’

Four former Boks on whether fringe players should have been released to play in the Currie Cup before the World Cup squad announcement:

Werner Swanepoel (former Bok scrumhalf)

'It would have been a good idea to give fringe players game time. A good example of just how the competition helped a player gain form and confidence is Francois Hougaard. He has been one of the stand-out performers during the early stages of the Currie Cup. I don't understand why it didn't happen. The All Blacks sent a number of their guys back to play in the National Provincial Championship and a guy like Israel Dagg scored a hat-trick for Hawke's Bay, while Cory Jane, who was injured for the most part of the season and is fighting for a place in the World Cup squad, did superbly for Wellington. It wouldn't have done any harm to let our boys play a round or two in the Currie Cup. But it's too late now. The squad will be announced before the next round of matches start.'

Robbie Kempson (former Bok prop)

'All the fringe players should have been allowed to go play in the Currie Cup. The majority of the squad has played no rugby for well over two months. If concerns over them joining their provincial sides were injury-based, there would have been more than enough others who could have stepped up as cover within the Bok set-up. There was no need for them to go sit in Durban and have a holiday when all they actually needed was game time and match fitness ahead of the official squad announcement on Friday. Several other big nations sent some of their players back to their respective provinces and regions to gain match fitness and build up some steam. Heyneke Meyer should have done the same, even if it was just on a weekly rotational basis with the different unions.'

André Pretorius (former Bok flyhalf)

'It's difficult to say whether fringe players had to get a few Currie Cup matches under the belt. I think Heyneke Meyer placed more emphasis on team unity and cohesion within the squad. If there was a need for certain individuals to sharpen up, the coach would have released them. What this shows is that Meyer is confident in the abilities of all his players and doesn't need any further proof to convince himself. I think it's better that everyone stayed in camp, where the coaches were able to monitor their progress personally.'

Wayne Fyvie (former Bok flank)

'The squad system was the correct way to go. I can't see how sending players back to compete in the Currie Cup would have aided the Boks' World Cup preparations. Those selected in the wider training group are all there for a reason, regardless of whether they were given game time in the Rugby Championship or not. And I'm sure none of those players wanted to go play Currie Cup either.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Post by

Mariette Adams