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Anxious wait for Deysel

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Springboks on 19 Aug 2011 at 07:00
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

Spare a thought for Jean Deysel this weekend, as the Sharks flanker faces a nervous wait to find out whether he has done enough over the last month to earn selection to the Springbok World Cup squad.

After emerging as one of the Sharks’ most important players over the course of the last few years – in fact, it’s been no real coincidence that the team’s worst form slumps in those times seem to have coincided with Deysel’s all-too-frequent injuries – the wrecking-ball flanker finally made a belated Springbok début as a replacement against Italy back in 2009. The presence of one Juan Smith, a real fixture in the Bok number 7 jersey, appeared to make Deysel somewhat superfluous at Springbok level and it was unfortunate that further injury prevented him from kicking on from that solitary cap on the end of year tour and forcing his way into the Bok squad on a more permanent basis.

The arrival of Willem Alberts at the Sharks, a move that was meant to set up a “dream ticket” of sorts, with him and Deysel playing in tandem and feeding off each other, hasn’t quite worked out as intended, though, with the two players now mainly competing for a single jersey. In recent times, with Deysel playing a role for the Boks at blindside flank while both Alberts and Smith were injured, it appeared as if the pattern would repeat at national level. With Smith sure to go with to the World Cup, as we were told, it seemed pretty clear that Deysel and Alberts were competing for a single spot in the 30-man squad.

A fair bit has changed, though, in recent days. It started with an alarmingly-poor effort from Danie Rossouw at blindside against the Wallabies, the sort of performance that has strengthened the case of those who’ve for some time now felt that he is a far better lock option than a loose forward. Only a few days later, Juan Smith ruled himself out of World Cup contention as well and with established wisdom suggesting that there will be five loose forward spots up for grabs in the squad, only three (Schalk Burger, Pierre Spies and Heinrich Brussow) can be considered certainties at this stage. Peter de Villiers is known to be a huge fan of Alberts and one feels that the burly former Lion probably doesn’t have too much more to do against the All Blacks this weekend in order to cement his place.

That leaves just one spot, with a slew of loose forwards, including Deysel, competing for it. Up until last week, you’d have thought he was the odds-on favourite for that spot, but the fact that he’s been cut from the squad this week (although not released for Currie Cup duty) and replaced on the bench by Ashley Johnson must be concerning. For Wollie, there’s an anxious few days ahead as he waits to see whether he’s done enough, knowing that he’ll have no further chances to show the selectors that he has more to offer than Johnson, or any of the other potential candidates, such as Deon Stegmann, Ryan Kankowski or even Dewald Potgieter.

The Bok squad for the World Cup will be announced on Tuesday afternoon.


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