What will be Bok squad look like later today for start of 2016 season

On the 12 June of 2004, new Springbok coach Jake White told the change-room at the Free State Stadium that in three years time they would win the World Cup.

Later, a number of players admitted they had had battled to stifle a smile. Many of them had the year before been humiliated in Australia in a Springbok World Cup campaign that is best described as pathetic.

That day in 2004, when White gave his prophetic speech, the Boks were about to run out to play Ireland. They had a total of 179 caps in the run-on team, most of them belonging to Os du Randt (39), Breyton Paulse (40), John Smit (26) and Victor Matfield (24).

The rest were puppies, even if they would become mongrels in the likes of Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Bakkies Botha and Fourie du Preez, who was making his debut.

There was of course was evolution in the team on the way to France 2007 but by and large White stuck to the same nucleus of players. Those players had been disbelievers in the dream in 2004 only to wear gold medals around their necks at the Stade de France.

Let’s fast track to 2016, to 11 June. Once again a post World Cup Bok team will be playing Ireland, funnily enough.

What will the change-room look like this time? Fresh-faced youngsters being told of a World Cup dream in Japan or a practical, workman-like team designed to win, first and foremost.

It will probably be a case of the latter. Coetzee has a semblance of a skeleton of a 2019 World Cup team already in place. He is spoilt for choice with young flyhalf stars that will be in their prime in Japan – Handre Pollard, Patrick Lambie and Elton Jantjies.

pic Pat Lambie

Scrumhalf is not that clear, but time is on the side of Rudy Paige, Cobus Reinach and Faf de Klerk. One of them will win the scrap.

The centres could well continue from the last World Cup game in England – Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel, but watch out for Jan Serfontein, Paul Jordaan and Lionel Mapoe. I would like to throw another name into the mix – Burger Odendaaal. Watch how the Burly bulls centre grows over the next few years.

At wing, South Africa has talent to burn. What will be interesting is whether Coetzee immediately dispenses with veterans in Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen and starts building the Test careers of players that will be peaking in 2019. There is a whole host of them, from Courtnall Skosaan and Sergeal Pietersen to Jamba Ulengo, and what about a wild card in Sevens star Seabelo Senatla. Lwazi Mvovo will not be over the hill either, by the next World Cup.

Coetee does not have a whole lot of depth at fullback but surely Willie le roux will be the first-choice, at least in June against Ireland. Cheslin Kolbe is an exciting option and we should not forget that Jesse Kriel’s natural position is fullback.

In the tight forwards, Coetzee must surely start afresh. At tighthead where jannie du Plessis is considerably on the wrong side of 30, is playing overseas, and there is a natural successors in Frans Malherbe and Julian Redelinghuys. There s also Lourens Adriaanse, who has performed miracles for the Sharks when he has come on at tighthead.

Hooker is a tough one. Bismarck du Plessis will be 35 at the next World Cup and possibly could make it. If not, there is talent coming through in Malcolm Marx and Scarra Ntubeni. The Sharks’ Franco Marais is on the rise and so too is Edgar Marutlulli of the Kings.

The second row is a done deal for Coetzee. Lood de Jager, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth …

Loose forwards as always is a tough one. If Coetzee went with the existing combo of Duane Vermeulen, Francois Louw and Schalk Burger, nobody would argue.

But while Burger may be a legend, he is not the future, and there is a long list of loose forwards that would star for the Boks: Marcell Coetzee, Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel, Siya Kolisi, Nisaaam Carr . And so on.

So what will the changeroom look like this time when the Boks play Ireland in their first post-World Cup test…?

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