Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
3 minute read
17 Jul 2015
2:38 pm

‘Jesse Kriel has to prove himself’

Rudolph Jacobs

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believed centre Jesse Kriel has to prove himself on Saturday in Brisbane against Australia in his debut Test match.

FILE PICTURE: Jesse Kriel. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

“Suddenly we are thin on outside centre with Jaque (Fourie) back in Japan, he’s a quality player but he has to prove himself against the best, I’ve always believed Australia have one of the best backlines in world rugby, so Jesse’s defence will be tested together with Damian de Allende.

“It’s up to him now to make the position his own, there’s not a lot of games left before the World Cup, but he is a special player in a difficult position to defend from, potentially wise he can make it and that’s why I put him in this tough Test match, away from home as is the World Cup.”

Meyer said winning away from home asked more questions from his side.

“It’s very tough winning away from home, just look at our record in Australia, we haven’t had a lot of success there, and you need some sort of continuity, I think they have a brilliant team, they were in-form in Super Rugby so that’s going to be a big challenge.

“We didn’t have an incoming tour so we only had the previous game to prepare, a few changes made but mostly opt for continuity, if you look at 10/12/13 it’s quite inexperienced guys, wanted to give them a game under the belt before facing Australia which I believed will be a tough Test match.”

World Cups are about pressure and more pressure.

“World Cups are not always about the best team winning it, you need guys who can perform under pressure, if you look at guys who are doing well under pressure it’s mostly the experienced ones, if you look at how the Brumbies went down to Cape Town and beat the Stormers quite convincingly.

“While the previous game they struggled, Duane Vermeulen was injured and so was Schalk Burger and a few of the senior players, suddenly you are under pressure and there’s no guys with experience.

“I highly rate Matt Giteau and I think he is a highly underrated player, great playmaker at 10 or 12 and he has won a lot of championships and trophies with Toulon as well, a quality player and a talisman, and he gets their backline going, but he’s been there and you can’t buy experience.”

‘You want your best team at the World Cup’

“If you look at our side there’s a lot of balance, I never thought I’ll be going into a game with a guy with no Test match experience a few games before the World Cup, but it shows you there’s always guys pushing, but you need experience especially in the key positions.

“At the end of the day you must play your best side and not comment on what they do, but it has helped us but at the moment we don’t have a lot of overseas guys in the team, but guys like Bakkies Botha, etc helped the youngsters coming through, but in the World Cup everyone wants to pick their best team.” going forward.