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Mon Apr 21 02:37:16 SAST 2014

Will Elton play a part?

LIAM DEL CARME | 25 September, 2012 07:310 Comments
Pat Lambie and Elton Jantjies at kicking practice during the Springboks' training session at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria yesterday
Image by: DUIF DU TOIT / GALLO IMAGES

HEYNEKE Meyer and his Wallabies counterpart Robbie Deans this week face some searching questions around the identity of their flyhalves for Saturday's Four Nations test at Loftus.

Meyer has included three flyhalves in his squad of 30, while Deans has to decide on a replacement for injured pivot Quade Cooper, who is out for the remainder of the competition.

Meyer named an inflated squad for the two home tests against the Wallabies and the All Blacks, which ordinarily might only have required 26 names. It means he could answer deafening cries to include Elton Jantjies in his squad, but whether the player's role will be limited to holding tackle bags in practice remains to be seen.

After all, even when he was named in the match 22 for the final test against England in June, Jantjies remained on the bench.

Johan Goosen has leapfrogged him in the pecking order after making his debut off the bench in Perth before playing an even greater role in the defeat in Dunedin.

Meyer gave no indication after that defeat that he was about to jettison the struggling Morne Steyn. He in fact insisted that Goosen would "not be rushed into the team".

Goosen did however look far more assured in the position when he replaced Steyn against the All Blacks. Steyn's confidence seems to be at a low but Meyer is hoping his favourite pivot can summon the courage and composure that saw him deliver a match and series-clinching performance at the same ground against the British & Irish Lions in 2009.

Meyer has also called up exciting Lions utility back Jaco Taute and props CJ van der Linde and Coenie Oosthuizen. He had to bolster his ranks among his front-rankers after Dean Greyling was banned for two weeks for striking Richie McCaw in the face last week. It is of course entirely debatable whether Greyling would have been invited back had he been available.

While Meyer is perhaps spoilt for choice at No10, Deans is having to rearrange the deck chairs. He must be used to it by now, having lost 28 players, 12 of whom were starters, since the start of last season. With Cooper injured, again, Deans has to turn to either Berrick Barnes or Kurtley Beale to fill the void.

Barnes brings stability but the volatile Beale is a potential match-winner. Beale has also had some issues with confidence this year and his performance in the first test against the All Blacks was lamentable to say the least. But as Deans observed before the Perth test, Beale is too good a player to again be cast in such a nightmare.

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