South AfricaHeyneke MeyerPieter-Steph du ToitEben EtzebethFlip van der MerweBakkies BothaSpringbok coach Heyneke Meyer has explained why he decided to not include lock Pieter-Steph du Toit in his squad to face Scotland on Sunday.


The promising youngster made his Test debut when he came off the bench against Wales in Cardiff last Saturday. It was expected that Meyer would give the youngster another shot this weekend as the coach firmly believes the 21-year-old has a big future in the international game.

However, Bakkies Botha was included to start his first Test since the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He will form a lock partnership with Flip van der Merwe with Eben Etzebeth on the bench.

“It was a big decision not to include Pieter-Steph because I’d like to give him as much playing time as possible,” Meyer said.

But Meyer said that with Botha being out of the Bok fold for so long it would have been risky to start with him and Du Toit.

“If I picked Pieter-Steph alongside Bakkies then we would effectively have two newcomers. I also felt I needed an experienced player who could replace Bakkies later in the game.

“Flip recently started as No 5 lock and is playing with a lot of confidence. It was therefore an easy decision to pick these three (Botha, Van der Merwe and Etzebeth),” said Meyer.

Meyer said he was impressed with the physical state of the 34-year-old Botha.

“I’ve coached Bakkies for years now and have seldom seen him look this good. He’s lost a lot of weight, is fit and movable, and wins lineout balls. But he has to show that he’s good enough.”

Meyer also said he wanted to have more lock options at his disposal with an eye on the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

“You need five very good locks to walk the road to the World Cup tournament. It’s an area where South Africa lost a few good players.”

Meyer also said he’d like Etzebeth to play more as a No 5 lock over the next year.

6 Responses to End Of Year Tours: Springboks – There is a plan with the locks – Meyer

  • 1

    Guess I am satisfied with the explanation!

    So, what happens if Bakkies and Flip have an absolute blinder on the weekend… which locks will play against France, specially considering that Bakkies play in France?

    Last week Flip was bloody good…
    Eben is good…
    Pieter-Steph has massive potential and to all accounts look good…

    Good to have the conundrum that you have 4 great locks to choose from with a view forward… just one question, who will be the 5th lock Heyneke wants? Your opinion?

  • 2

    @ grootblousmile:
    I think he will Play Bakkies against France if he plays well vs Scotland.
    What happened to Juandre Kruger.
    I would not be surprised if HM try to find a Danie Roussouw type of lock

  • 3

    2 @ superBul:
    Have not heard much of Danie Rossouw recently… Old Pakslae!

    There are various options for the 5th lock… Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield (if rumours are true), Franco van der Merwe, Grant Hattingh, Paul Willemse, Elstadt, Andries Langbek, Lood de Jager…

    I really hope Eben Etzebeth & Pieter-steph du Toit starts specializing at No 5 lock, because that’s where we at least need one of the 2.

  • 4

    I see Gary Botha has won his Court battle in the High Court, where he was sued by ABC Sports Management for around R 1 million. Glad for him!

  • 5

    I see a lot of sentiment around locks… flyhalf, tighthead prop… hell whichever position… revolves around building for the future.

    Are people not losing sight of the primary objective, that being playing THE BEST PLAYER IN HIS POSITION for the Bokke, and I mean the best player at that juncture.

    Is’nt taking care of wins now, building up winning percentages and building a Springbok legacy in the process, the exact Springbok Coach mandate?

    We must not forget about the now, the wins now… whilst building depth!

    If Bakkies proves himself to still be the best No 4 lock (no matter his age) for the Springboks, I feel what a good bloody show! The young upcoming stars must grow into their positions and not get handed their spots on a plate, they must fight to get to the top and to the best in their positions… that is the natural order of things, the way it should be, and we must be wary not to look past that.

    That’s why a Jan Serfontein, a Frans Malherbe, a Siya Kolisi, a Pieter-Steph du Toit, a Marcell Coetzee is not automatic starters, they have not shown that they are the best yet… they’ve got to earn that.

    In the same vein, if JP Pietersen or Jaque Fourie or Bakkies Botha or Fourie du Preez or Morn√© Steyn or even Jean de Villiers do not consistently keep shaping, then they should not be able to bank on the fact that they have this huge bank of experience… there are no free rides!

  • 6

    I like the fact that HM wants start using Etzebeth at 5. And if PSDT can specialise at 4, we will have a mobile lock pairing that can win line outs, and both won’t stand back from the physical stuff. And as back ups, we have a good list of locks that HM can rotate as well.

    If Willemse can keep his fitness levels up, he will do a great job as a no 4 back up and Lood can play 5 as well.


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