De Villiers has number 10 quandary

South Africa coach Peter de Villiers is concerned at the world champions' lack of a proven Test fly-half ahead of the summer series with Wales. [more]

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South Africa coach Peter de Villiers is concerned at the world champions’ lack of a proven Test fly-half ahead of the summer series with Wales.

De Villiers has admitted that the lack of a top playmaker – with world cup winner Butch James now plying his trade in England with Bath – is his main concern and the presence of imported stand-offs Tony Brown and Frederic Michalak in South Africa’s Super 14 sides is exacerbating the problem.

De Villiers is keen for his Test players to be specialists in their positions, but candidates for the number 10 jersey have been hindered by their versatility.

Stormers back Peter Grant has been alternating between fly-half and centre, while Francois Steyn has turned out at 10, 12, 13 and 15 for the Sharks this season.

"For the test matches against Wales I would like to start with a team in which every player is a specialist in his position," De Villiers told Beeld.

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De Villiers would like Grant to be given more game time for the Stormers.

"I’d like to see him play more often, just as I would appreciate it if the Sharks gave Ruan Pienaar more exposure at fly-half," De Villiers said.

He added that Steyn’s versatility is not working in the player’s favour.

"I do not know what his best position is," added De Villiers. "And I make no secret of the fact that I do not value versatility highly."

The Springboks meet Wales in Bloemfontein on June 7 and in Pretoria a week later.

Only seven of the World Cup XV would currently be in his run on squad on form, De Villiers added.

"Some of the World Cup stalwarts made a slow start in the Super 14 but I am encouraged by the upward curve in their form," he said.

"Take Bryan Habana. He was awesome in the Bulls’ last two matches. He is a special player who has the ability to help everyone around him lift their game."

De Villiers said the team for the first test against Wales would certainly contain some surprises.

"They may not necessarily be young in years but rather young in Springbok experience."

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