Rugby 7.8.2013 05:00 am

Heyneke averts ‘tighthead crisis’

GROOMED. Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen, above, is the likely back-up for Jannie du Plessis at tighthead. Picture: Gallo Images

GROOMED. Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen, above, is the likely back-up for Jannie du Plessis at tighthead. Picture: Gallo Images

Looming crisis in the Springbok No 3 jersey? No crisis, just a real lack of depth, says Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.

With Jannie du Plessis the only recognised tighthead in the training squad preparing for the Rugby Championship, Meyer has downplayed the shortage of stock in this crucial position.

The four other props are known more as recognised loose-heads in Beast Mtawarira, Gurthro Steenkamp, Coenie Oosthuizen and Trevor Nyakane, suggesting there is indeed a lack of good back-up for Du Plessis.

With the new scrum laws to come into effect next weekend, Du Plessis’ successor is still cast in a question mark with the Sharks’ powerful scrummer being overplayed last season.

But somebody like Oosthuizen is being groomed as a future tighthead and he played a lot of games there for the Cheetahs once Nyakane has come on to replace the regular tighthead Lourens Adriaanse.

“There have been a lot of injuries to the leading tightheads which have seen inexperienced players being introduced,” said Meyer.

“But Coenie has made a quality contribution as an impact player while Trevor can also play there,” the coach added.

Some injuries Meyer refers to are those of Stormers prop Frans Malherbe and the Sharks’ Wiehan Herbst, while Pat Cilliers has only just returned from injury.

“We do need our next No 3 but Pat and Lourens are standby players in case of injury,” said Meyer.

Herbst, however, does need a look-in while Frik Kirsten of the Bulls performed excellently every time he replaced Werner Kruger in the Super Rugby competition.

But Du Plessis, who turns 31 in November, remains the only quality No 3 and, with 45 Tests under his belt, he has to be managed properly to be primed for the 2015 World Cup in England.

 

 

 

 

 

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