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Botha, Wentzel on standby

 Nov 01,2012
Written by: SARugby.com Editor
 

As the Springboks prepare to travel to Europe for their end-of-year tour, coach Heyneke Meyer has secured two experienced locks in case the national side encounter injury problems.

"If we get an injury at [number] four, Bakkies [Botha] would be the standby man, but for five we've looked at Marco Wentzel," said Meyer during their training camp in Cape Town this week.

"I've been in contact with them and they're both on standby."

Wentzel received his second and last Springbok cap in 2002, moving to Europe soon afterwards where he played for Leicester Tigers, when Meyer was the English team's head coach in 2008.

Wentzel now plays for another English club, London Wasps.

In the event of injury, Meyer was not planning to play any lock out of position as set-piece management might pose problems.

As a result, it was unlikely specialised number fours Eben Etzebeth and Flip van der Merwe would make the starting XV as a pairing but offered options off the deck.

"Flip has really played well this year and Eben has been exceptional," said Meyer.

"In a sense you'd love to have two guys who really put in the grafting work. [They] could be tough guys in overseas conditions.

"The set-piece is so important over there. I'd love to play them together, so maybe off the bench it could happen."

Meyer said Etzebeth had been fantastic this season but with line-outs being a technical area, a specialist number five was required.

"Eben has been brilliant but they [him and Van Der Merwe] haven't called a lot of lineouts together, and it's such a technical area these days.

"It requires such a lot of preparation, and we only have three [training] sessions.

"I believe we need a specialist five lock in those conditions. I did look at a guy like Johann Muller [of Ulster] for the tour but he is also injured."
 

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