The Springbok camp has been rocked by the news that flyhalf, Handre Pollard as well as centre and standout player this season, Lukhanyo Am are out for the rest of the Rugby Championship through injury.
The Boks have already admitted to a crisis at right wing and now add to that, there are also personnel shortages at centre, flyhalf and even at hooker.
The team that boasted about its incredible strength and depth is fast running out of key players. The Boks are in Sydney for a make or break fourth round Rugby Championship clash against Australia.
The Springbok pack must be a very frustrating place to be at the moment. The forwards do their job, they wrestle back ball after ball, and they put the backs on the front foot and then watch as chance after chance is squandered.
Trevor Nyakane, speaking on behalf of the forwards said the pack has faith in the backline’s scoring abilities, and he just hopes they will use the first class service they continue to get.
“That dominance of the scrum hopefully we can replicate that and even better and I think every backline player will tell that they enjoy playing behind a pack that goes forward so us as forwards our goal is to go in there and give them go forward ball and hopefully the guys will be able to do what they do, the likes of Jesse knows where the try line is and hopefully this weekend they will do exactly just that,” Nyakane said.
Much like the crisis in personnel the Boks are experiencing at right wing, the centre pairing is also now at risk of unravelling, and with news that the Bok lynchpin, Lukhanyo Am is out for the remainder of the Rugby Championship, it is going to be tough to replace him.
Damian De Allende will team up with Jesse Kriel who was previously used to plug a gap at right wing, but Kriel for one is confident the chemistry amongst the midfielders can pull the Boks through.
“Very excited to be back in the midfield with Damian, I think regardless of who plays in the midfield, all the guys that cover the midfield role play well together and they get along very well together so I think it is another good opportunity, we are all good friends off the field so that obviously makes a big difference,” says Kriel.
The Wallabies’ penchant for gamesmanship was on display for all to see in Adelaide and it’s odds on, they will be up to their old tricks in Sydney. But Nyakane says the Boks do have a way of shaking off any perceived injustices on the pitch.
“Whatever decisions are made, it is always ours, coach always says just go into the next battle so we just try and look for more battles and he says sometimes you will lose some but at the end of the day you will come up winning more than you have lost so certain things happen in the game and we just try to let it not stick in our minds and you take it maybe it’s my bad or my mistake that happened to me, put it behind our back take ownership of it and try to move on again,” Nyakane added.
The Springboks have certainly made life difficult for themselves. They now have to resort to a win at all costs mentality if they are to salvage their Rugby Championship campaign, and with the tournament wide open at the moment, they’ll be kicking themselves if they don’t get their act together and exploit the power vacuum left by the demise of the All Blacks in particular.