Former Springbok wing Stefan Terblanche believes uncertainty in key selection areas is hampering the Springboks as they continue their stuttered build-up towards the defence of their World Cup title.
Bok coach Peter de Villiers left most of his senior players out of the away leg of the Tri-Nations earlier this month, and received plenty of criticism after the world champions were thumped by Australia and New Zealand.
Having lost the return leg against the Wallabies in Durban last weekend, South Africa face the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday in their last Tri-Nations Test of the season.
The Springboks have never been whitewashed in a Tri-Nations campaign before and De Villiers' men will be desperate to get a win under their belts before they start the defence of their World Cup crown next month.
Terblanche commented: "I said when Peter de Villiers left his big names behind that I thought he was doing the right thing. But I said it was also important now that he selects his strongest team for the home leg to try and get some wins under the belt.
"Unfortunately it didnt happen on Saturday, so there is a little bit of concern, with players not knowing what positions they're playing in," he said.
De Villiers will field a third different flyhalf in as many games against New Zealand, with Morne Steyn starting in the No.10 jersey after Patrick Lambie and Butch James were given a run in the last two matches.
At fullback, Frans Steyn's hamstring injury, which he picked up against Australia last week, means Lambie has been named in the position, while Morne Steyn and Gio Aplon have also played there this season.
Another area of uncertainty is at hooker where captain John Smit and Bismarck du Plessis have been constantly rotated.
Terblanche, who played 37 Tests for the Springboks between 1998 and 2003, was confident that the Boks could be in good form at the World Cup, but said team selection would be key.
"I certainly think they will be very competitive come the World Cup. We've got enough good players - they just need to be coached well and we need to select our best team for us to be competitive," he said.
Terblanche said De Villers was rightly criticised following the Australasian trip.
"I think he (De Villiers) is under pressure," Terblanche said.
"The rugby public out there aren't stupid and they know we haven't played as well as we should. I think he is feeling the pressure, and rightly so. If you look at the results from the last couple of years, they haven't been great," he pointed out.
Terblanche, however, insisted there was still sufficient time for the Boks to turn things around before they begin their title defence against Wales in Wellington on September 11.
"I think what's good for us now is that we got that (Australia) game out the way," he said.
"We have the All Blacks next, and in the build-up to the playoffs of the World Cup we've also got a couple of games we can hopefully use for getting more game time for the boys. I think those are the matches we have to target to get the boys back to their usual sharpness," added Terblanche.
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