A hand injury, ruling Pierre Spies out of the Rugby Championship, might have been bad news to Heyneke Meyer and his coaching staff, but for many Springbok fans out there, it was not. Fans certainly don’t wish any ill-will on the Bulls No 8, who is reportedly an extremely likeable person, but following the Super 15, he was not the form No 8 in South Africa.
That mantle belongs to Keegan Daniel, who is finally getting the recognition deserved after a fantastic season in Durban. He will bring vibrancy and energy to the Springbok pack, and while not gifted with the same physical presence as Spies, he has all the skills required to be a success at international level. Given Daniel’s fleeting glimpses in a Springbok jersey, fans at Newlands for the Test against Argentina and beyond can expect an extremely powerful loose trio to represent the green and gold for the duration of the competition.
Meyer has also continued to select the out-of-form Morne Steyn and Francois Hougaard, who has question marks hanging over his ability to clear the ball quickly from the ruck and set-piece. This selection adds further momentum to the school of thought that Meyer’s selections are a bit bullish, with Jacques Potgieter and JJ Engelbrecht sitting on the deck for the Springboks. Zane Kirchner’s selection at fullback over the highly talented Pat Lambie also raised some eyebrows.
As long as the Springboks keep winning, spectators and the media alike are willing to give Meyer some rope. But if the green and gold start losing, the bear will be released from its cage. The pressure is on.