David Rush, South Coast Herald
The Boks face Wales in the first quarter-finals, to be played this Saturday at 5pm.
The team hadn’t been announced at the time of writing, but my hope is that it looks like this:
15 Willie le Roux: He is our best option there, able to create something out of nothing.
14 JP Pietersen: His defence is immense. And he seems to have regained some pace.
13 Jesse Kriel: Exciting on attack. Question marks linger over his defence.
12 Damian de Allende: Has been superb all round.
11 Bryan Habana: I prefer to see him on the left wing. Has racked up the tries. Hopefully more to come.
10 Handré Pollard: Seems to be growing with each game. Kicking has been solid enough.
9 Fourie du Preez: Just needs to stay injury free and play his normal game. World class.
8 Duane Vermeulen: Same as above.
7 Schalk Burger: No questioning his commitment, but would like to see him get rid of the ball sooner.
6 Francois Louw: Has been busy and efficient.
5 Lood de Jager: Has been excellent in all aspects. Forming a formidable duo with Eben Etzebeth.
4 Eben Etzebeth: Great to see him fulfilling his potential after injury concerns. The new ‘enforcer’.
3 Frans Malherbe: Needs to come in instead of Jannie du Plessis, who has a few niggles.
2 Bismarck du Plessis: Getting back to his best form. Just needs to keep a cool head.
1 Tendai Mtawarira: Cries of ‘Beast’ have become more common again. Let’s hope it continues.
Jannie du Plessis: He can come on if Malherbe is having a nightmare.
Trevor Nyakane: Can cover both prop positions.
Adriaan Strauss: A cool head, great enthusiasm.
Pieter-Steph du Toit: Provides options at lock and flank, but preferably at lock.
Willem Alberts: Can provide thunderous impact late in the game.
Pat Lambie: Can cover flyhalf or fullback.
Ruan Pienaar: He’s there in case Du Preez gets injured.
Lwazi Mvovo: Can provide some extra pace in the last quarter.
But what to do with Victor Matfield, assuming he is fully fit?
If coach Heyneke Meyer insists on using him, then start him at 5, move De Jager to the bench, and Du Toit out of the match day squad.
However, that seems very short-sighted, as the pair of Etzebeth and De Jager on the charge is creating excitement among Bok fans and fear in our opponents.
The other quarter-finals will see New Zealand play France at 9pm this Saturday.
On Sunday, it’s Ireland vs Argentina at 2pm, and Australia vs Scotland at 5pm.