rugby365.com columnist Grant Ball writes that the decision to call up Charl McLeod as Ricky Januarie's replacement is another mistake by Peter de Villiers.
The decision to call up Charl McLeod as Ricky Januarie's replacement is another mistake by Peter de Villiers.
Januarie's international retirement on Friday meant another scrumhalf was required, and on Wednesday McLeod was named in the 49-man squad. McLeod won't go to the World Cup, unless Fourie du Preez, Ruan Pienaar or Francois Hougaard are injured, but if one of them gets crocked, the Boks will be in trouble.
Not because of inadequate scrumhalf depth, but due to De Villiers's selection error. Some may say McLeod will only be third-choice scrumhalf, at best, so it doesn't matter. However, that doesn't mean the best player shouldn't be picked. Why possibly go to a World Cup with a player nowhere near the top three in the country, in a crucial position?
So, where is Pretorius in the pecking order? In De Villiers's view, sixth at best, behind Du Preez, Hougaard, Pienaar, Januarie, and McLeod. There's no doubt South Africa has a wealth of 9's, but there is no way Pretorius is that low down.
A vital part of coaching is talent identification. It doesn't take a genius to note that Pretorius should be fourth on that list, and while we all know De Villiers is no genius, this is beyond belief that he won't pick him. Pretorius can break open a tight contest, and with the Boks' limited attacking game based on their forwards, he would have provided something different.
De Villiers will say 'we know what we have in Charl'. Based on one tour where he sat on the bench and did nothing against the Barbarians? Laughable. De Villiers may also point to the fact that McLeod is familiar with other Sharks players. But what about those standouts from smaller provinces?
Another De Villiers excuse could be McLeod's 'left boot'. Firstly, that left foot isn't much of a tactical kicking option, and if that was a reason in his selection, Dewaldt Duvenage provides a far superior alternative.
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