Trying something different…

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Pierre Spies in full flight

With the Rugby World Cup now into the knock-out stages everybody and his dog is coming up with a theory for what teams should be doing. This is especially true of the Springboks in the wake of news that Frans Steyn and Francois Hougaard are on their way back home. It’s a tough one. Nobody doubts Jean de Villiers is a world class centre and while he can certainly hold his own against the convicts I’m not that certain about him standing up to Nonu or Sonny-Bill.

Perhaps it’s time to pull a rabbit out of the hat and play Pierre Spies at inside centre, with Willem Alberts taking his place at the back of the scrum and Jean de Villiers shifting to the left wing in place of Habana – who has frequently been exposed on defence. That would certainly be a far stronger defensive line up and on attack, well, how you like to have Pierre Spies bearing down on you in full flight? I certainly wouldn’t. It’s certainly food for thought.

And then there’s Ruan Pienaar: I love to see him get a start ahead of Fourie du Preez – although I wouldn’t drop Fourie further than the bench. He’d be an incredible sup-sub.


Fire the selectors

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Somebody needs to fire the bunch of mental midgets called the South African cricket selectors. Think about it: they have seen fit to include a proper ODI opening batsman and wicketkeeper in Morne van Wyk so instead of playing him in his natural position up the order, they persist with Captain Crossbat the Arrogant Smith. And then to compound the idiocy of batting van Wyk at seven, they continue to risk a player ranked by many as one of best batsmen and fielders in the world behind the stumps – where he is under constant threat of breaking a finger; Not to mention that van Wyk is a far better keeper.

Hashim Amla's half-century kept South Africa steady against Netherlands on an overcast morning in Mohali © Getty Images