Planet Rugby

Boks set to align new midfield combo

27th May 2014 12:17

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Damian de Allende Springboks camp

Damian de Allende: Set to start at 13?

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has hinted that he may start Damian de Allende alongside Jan Serfontein during the June Tests.

Frans Steyn looks set to join Bok captain Jean de Villiers on the sideline for the fixtures against the World XV, Wales and Scotland after it was revealed that he played with a knee injury during the Sharks' overseas tour.

The national team's medical staff will give an injury updated on Wednesday but Meyer has admitted that the team that will take the field for the first game on June 7 will be significantly different to the one he had in mind at the start of the Boks' three -day camp in Durban.

"There has been a lot of planning this year but now in the space of a few hours we have had three or four players ruled out and the composition of the team that I had in my mind has had to change quite considerably," said Meyer told the gather press on Monday.

"But there are a few guys who have long-term injuries and that is worrying.

"Frans is struggling a bit with a knee issue. With Jean de Villiers and Jaque Fourie both ruled out we will have to start with a new centre combination in the June matches, but there are a lot of options at number 12. Damian de Allende has been awesome. I have always liked what I see in him, and he was man of the match in his last game.

"We also have Jan (Serfontein) in good form. JJ Engelbrecht was good for us at outside centre last year before Jaque came in for the end of year tour, and Juan de Jongh is back to his best, so we have options at outside centre too, but obviously it isn't ideal to have two new centres playing together. We don't have a lot of time to prepare and I was hoping I wouldn't have to change too much from the end of year tour.

"I think Damian and Jan can play together, although with the way the system works, it will be difficult as I only worked with Damian for the first time today. And we just did the basics. But I had a chat with Damian last night and he told me he played number 13 at school. He definitely has the build for it. I like big centres in the mould of Jaque Fourie.

"I was pleased to hear he can play 13 because I have only seen him play No 12 and on the wing. I would like to look at some stage at Jan and Damian as a combination. It is definitely an option. They are both young and exciting players."

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