Boks to test full-back options?

Date published: August 4 2015

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The return of Jean de Villiers to the Springbok midfield could see Jesse Kriel being given a chance to show his versatility from full-back in the coming weeks.  

Willie le Roux has become South Africa's undisputed first-choice full-back in recent years with no player the standout candidate to be his back-up.

Pat Lambie has filled in at 15 but is not a specialist in the position and is expected to travel to the World Cup mainly as a fly-half. Leinster's Zane Kirchner is in the squad, but is regarded as a long shot for World Cup selection.

Kriel has been brilliant in his first three Tests for his country at outside centre, but having played the entire Super Rugby season for the Bulls at full-back, he offers head coach Heyneke Meyer an extra backline option.

With De Villiers sure to feature against Argentina in at least one of the two upcoming games, if Kriel is to be tested at full-back, it will have to be in the next fortnight.

"Jesse has showed in the last year or two that he can play both positions and he certainly gives us an option outside of 13. It’s been a great start to his international career for him," said Springbok backs coach Ricardo Loubscher on Tuesday.

"When you go to a World Cup you need versatile players and we have plenty of those so we are in a good space," he added.

With Handre Pollard in doubt for this weekend due to delayed concussion, Lambie is likely to feature in the 10 jersey on Saturday.

The Sharks playmaker did however admit that he is "not 100 percent sure" whether the Bok management are considering him as a utility back or a specialist fly-half.

"I am happy in either position and am happy to play either for the Boks," said Lambie.

"Right now any game time would be great for me. I know the coach did have the plan to give as many players as possible a run at this stage of the build-up to the World Cup.

"There are a few adjustments that need to be made [when switching between positions].

"That is particularly the case when it comes to positional play. The roles are also slightly different on defence and attack. But the changes that have to be made are ones I am comfortable making."

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