The experienced Francois ‘Flo’ Louw has all but given away the Springboks’ loose trio for Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Durban.
Summoned from his English club Bath after missing the series against England in June, the 33-year-old has specifically been picked for his ability to fit into various playing styles.
And at the weekend, it seems inevitable that he’ll form part of a dynamic, attacking combination featuring national captain Siya Kolisi and Warren Whiteley.
Louw’s role as opensider means Kolisi will most likely switch to the blindside position, a prospect that excites the veteran, especially since various observers believe the Bok skipper is better suited to the No 7 jersey.
“Having played with Siya before, I know he can be immensely physical. We play quite a different sort of game,” Louw said on Tuesday.
“Personally, I think he’s a bit more of a ball carrier, but he’s also got pace and a big presence on defence. I’m more breakdown focused, and perhaps play a bit tighter.”
Whiteley’s return is also notable having missed more than a year of international rugby.
“Warren is a fantastic player, and offers a great lineout option,” said Louw.
“I guess you could say he’s a back trapped in a forwards’ body. He links between the forwards and backs really well, he’s good in the outside channels and really gets all over the park. Warren has an immense work rate.”
Yet the former Stormers and Province stalwart isn’t just expected to play a key role on the field.
Bok coach Rassie Erasmus earlier noted how Louw is keen to add value to the younger flankers in the group, such as Marco van Staden and Cyle Brink.
“I’ve had a few training sessions now with them. They’re very keen to play. They’re very humble, they don’t think they deserve to be here, they want to earn their keep,” said Louw.
“I’ve been really impressed by the way they’ve carried themselves.”