While South Africa must face Ireland this Saturday, September 23 in Saint-Denis, Rassie Erasmus returned to the possibility of once again composing a bench with seven forwards and only three quarters. A very likely arrangement for the Springboks director of rugby.
The clash of this group stage is approaching: first against second in the World Rugby world rankings. Ireland against South Africa, great people on the field and no less in the stands. Rassie Erasmus, former Springbok coach and now performance director, has accustomed us to his escapades. like when he harshly criticized the refereeing of Waynes Barnes, on the sidelines of the match against France at the Vélodrome. But also his innovative ideas, on this side nothing to reproach him for. In 2019, he led his team to the world title, although a few months earlier he had recovered a group from the brink of collapse.
“The seven-one option is totally possible”
This summer, in a warm-up match against the All-Blacks, Erasmus, for example, proposed a bench of seven forwards for a single three-quarter. A decision as daring as it was fruitful, since the Springboks swept the Blacks 35-7. Since then, the idea has not crossed his mind, but against Ireland, this Saturday in Saint-Denis, “lThe seven-one option is entirely possible.e”, he announced at a press conference. A tactic that could well require some remodeling works to consolidate the Stade de France bench!
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If such an armada emerges among the Springbok replacements, “You have to have players like Kwagga Smith, who is used to playing with seven.admits Rassie Erasmus, who continues, On the other hand, there are guys like Johnny Sexton, who is able to take advantage of this situation when there is an injury fairly early in the game.“. Therefore, we could well have the right to have the right to this famous “7-1”, the idea is not yet decided. The injuries of Malcolm Marx, lost until the end of the World Cup, and of Eben Etzebeth, who is recovering from some shoulder discomfort, it could however force the South African team to opt for a more classic “6-2”.
Handre Pollard preserved against Ireland
To remedy the injury to hooker Marx, flyhalf Handre Pollard was called up, a decision that seemed strange at first glance. The latter has never proven his worth in a closed scrum, nor in touch throws. The choice is actually explained by the absence of a reliable scorer in this team. If Manie Libbok has so far shown himself to be excellent in the game, against the Poles he has shown himself to be a failure, as has his teammate Faf De Klerk. Then, Pollard, who until now had been sidelined by injury, arrives as the messiah. If he does not intend to multiply the loaves, he could very well do it with the points and perhaps even make his opponents lose sight. But miracles will await him, since he “He won’t be on the team this week.” Erasmus announced.
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For the moment, all South African minds are directed towards Ireland, a match that should determine the French XV’s opponent in the quarter-finals. So Fabien we are counting on you, put on your glasses and reveal the mystery of these two green giants.