Springboks are missing a number 9
To be fair at the moment there isn't one player who is raising his hand as the best scrumhalf in the country. No one is saying 'you can't do without me'
NO scrumhalf in Super Rugby has established himself as the country's undisputed best‚ argues former Springbok halfback Werner Swanepoel.
While some players have displayed encouraging form‚ Swanepoel holds the view that no one has seized the moment in the build-up to the Springboks' three-Test series against France in June .
“To be fair at the moment there isn't one player who is raising his hand as the best scrumhalf in the country. No one is saying 'you can't do without me'‚” said Swanepoel.
While no one has been a cut above‚ Swanepoel has seen some developing patterns.
“We spoke about (Cobus) Reinach and about him going overseas (at the end of the season)‚ Jano Vermaak and Shaun Venter are playing well‚ although I see the Cheetahs are playing Tian Meyer as well.
"The most consistent player at this stage is Ross Cronjé.
“I was also described as consistent and you don't always want to be described as that because the inference is that you aren't good‚ or that you are not the best.”
At the Lions‚ Cronjé has shared responsibilities with Faf de Klerk whose zing and zip‚ the allies that helped make for a stellar season last year‚ have abandoned him this year.
De Klerk has‚ however‚ been closely marked this season‚ although there is the temptation to judge him on last season's form.
After nine consecutive appearances for the Lions this season De Klerk‚ as part of the team's rotational policy‚ has been rested for their match against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.
Swanepoel argues that after a stand out campaign last year‚ De Klerk was always going to find it difficult to assert himself this season.
“Teams get to know you. They know what you get up to. His form wasn't that great when he returned from the Springboks last year.
"In Super Rugby last year he was by some distance our best scrumhalf.”
Swanepoel believes the Lions' coaching corps don't have to fret about a position in which they are well stocked.
“I doubt it leaves Johan (Ackermann) with a headache when Faf is rested. The Lions are in an enviable position‚ whether they want to play tight‚ or loose... they have someone good at No9.
“Ross gives a bit more direction to their play. He's not as sharp breaking around the fringes like Faf‚ although we haven't seen that too much this season because the guys are marking him.” - TMG Digital/TMG Sport