CRAIG LEWIS identifies some of the good, the bad and the ugly to take away from the Boks’ ‘farewell’ Test before heading to the World Cup.
If there were any doubts about Sbu Nkosi‘s place in the Boks’ World Cup squad, he unequivocally banished them through his stunning two-try display against Argentina on Saturday. His opening try in the first half required a lot of work. He received the ball out wide, delivered a devastating sidestep and powered his way over to score an important try. However, Nkosi left the best for next when he created a try from nowhere in the second half with another dazzling display of footwork, pure strength and clinical finishing. The powerful wing has undoubtedly booked his ticket to Japan, while also sending out a timely reminder that there is plenty of competition for the No 14 jersey that recently appeared to be in the possession of Cheslin Kolbe.
Both teams made plenty of changes to their lineups for this match, and it showed. At times, the basic errors from the two sides bordered on schoolboys level, and it all contributed to a rather unattractive spectacle. In particular, the first half was a horribly stop-start affair, while the contest hardly gained much momentum over the final 40 minutes. Again, there were far too many stoppages for the officials to converse, and it all got a bit tedious for long periods of the match. Ironically, the tone was set even before kick-off when referee Luke Pearce had issues with his communication devices, which delayed the start of the match.
Prior to this clash, Rassie Erasmus had said he was very excited to see what Marcell Coetzee could offer at No 8. It was always going to be a crucial game for the former Sharks star, and he made a sprightly start to proceedings, which included a trademark steal at the breakdown. However, not long after, he carried the ball into contact and suffered a nasty head knock. It was ugly to see Coetzee having to be taken from the field midway through the first half, and even uglier that he wasn’t able to get back on to the field after failing his concussion test. It would have been ideal to see Coetzee get through an industrious 60 minutes or so of play, but it wasn’t to be. It now remains to be seen whether Erasmus believes he has seen enough from Coetzee to include him in the World Cup squad, or whether it may jeopardise his chances of inclusion.
Photo: EPA/Willem Loock