This will be the first proper series since the British Irish Lions in 2009, and a break from the endless production line of Super Rugby games.
England won’t be undertaking a proper tour, though. Apart from the Saturday tests at Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, there are two midweek matches: against the “Barbarians North” in Potchefstroom and the “Barbarians South” in Kimberley. Those team identities have just been invented and are hardly likely to quicken the blood.
Imagine how much more interesting it would be if the Leopards or Griquas could treat their home supporters to a game against international opponents .
Heyneke Meyer, the new Bok coach, won’t have much time to prepare for the first test against England. The Bulls and Stormers (at Loftus Versfeld) and the Lions and Sharks (at Ellis Park) will be meeting the previous Saturday, and it’s hard to believe that when the smell of cordite has cleared (as the late Sunday Times writer Barry Glasspool liked to say) from these derby games, all the Springboks will have survived uninjured.
Meyer must by now have a good idea of the 22 men he wants. The most interesting question is who he will pick at flyhalf. Both Morne Steyn (Bulls) and Patrick Lambie (Sharks) were outstanding for their teams last weekend.
Steyn scored a try and converted kicks from all angles in the 41-35 win over the Rebels . He also showed there’s more to him than the boot when he chipped ahead delicately to create a try for JJ Engelbrecht. Lambie scored all 28 points in the win over the Highlanders, converting his own try and seven penalties.
Lambie appears more able to make things happen, in the classic style of the flyhalf, but the accuracy of his passing has not been assured in recent games. Steyn has been criticised for standing too far back when receiving, which limits the opportunities to surprise the opposition.
Springbok rugby has learnt the hard way that you must pick your best goal- kicker, which means Steyn has to be in the side.
Will Meyer feel safer with him starting, using Lambie as an impact substitute half way through the second half if necessary? Or will the side be stronger with Steyn at fullback (where the competition is less intense than for flyhalf) and Lambie at number 10 to provide spark from the beginning?
That decision could tell us a lot about how Meyer will go about managing an international season that runs from June to November, including a dozen tests: against England (three in June and one in November), two each against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, and one each against Ireland and Scotland.
Article source: http://www.fm.co.za/Article.aspx?id=171431