Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
7 Nov 2014
3:00 pm

Heyneke counts on Coenie in the wings

Rudolph Jacobs

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer doesn’t believe the team will be in trouble if tighthead Jannie du Plessis picks up an early injury in tomorrow’s Test against Ireland in Dublin.

File picture: Jannie du Plessis. Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

Even though replacement Coenie Oosthuizen has limited game time since June and is still not comfortable in the tighthead position, Meyer said he has the fullest confidence in the Cheetah player.

“I probably would’ve wanted him to play a few more games, but fitness-wise I haven’t seen him in such a good condition. What he needs is scrum-time and scrum-fitness and that will only come with game time,” said Meyer.

“He is a great impact player and even if something happens to Jannie early on, I still believe Coenie is good enough to go for 80 minutes.”

Meyer said his options were also narrowed after injuries to Frans Malherbe and Marcel van der Merwe.

“To be fair on Coenie, I still believe his best position is loosehead, but he is only 24 and we have a lot of great looseheads in the country, so we need to find and develop tightheads, “ he said.

“Unfortunately Coenie has really been struggling with his neck, and at a stage in his career he also struggled with his scrumming, but he had a break, and honestly I have never seen Coenie train so well or be in such a good shape the last week or two.”