There was something of an outcry and much disbelief among rugby fans on Monday when news emerged that Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber had picked Joseph Dweba to start against the Wallabies in Adelaide on Saturday.
How could he, is Nienaber mad, was what many fans thought when the team was named.
How could he once again leave the world’s best hooker, according to many South Africans, on the bench for the Rugby Championship match, not after the shocking performance by Dweba in his outing against the All Blacks at Ellis Park.
On that occasion, just 10 days ago, the former Cheetahs man was yanked out of the action before half-time after a display that was characterised by giving away an early free-kick at a scrum and missing his lineout jumpers.
The Boks lost the Test, and Dweba didn’t have a good game, but I am pleased he has been given another chance to start. I am also pleased Ox Nche is in the No 1 jersey again and that Duane Vermeulen is at eighthman again.
Sure, Malcolm Marx is a quality hooker, one of the best in the game, man-of-the-match against the All Blacks in Mbombela, but he, too, struggled early in his career. And why should Dweba not get another chance … he’s proved himself to be a powerful player, a quality hooker, and is deserving of his place in the squad.
He has been backed to make things right, show that he can learn, adapt and perform at the required standard. It is now up to him to pay back the faith shown in him.
It would not be right to simply chuck him away after one poor outing; that’s not how things should be done.
The same goes for Nche. We all know what a quality prop forward he is and how much he contributes during a game, and so, too, Vermeulen.
It’s okay to not always agree on selections and we don’t always have to see eye to eye, but I like the fact Nienaber has stuck to his guns and said to Dweba “go show them what you’re made of.”
The ball is now in the hooker’s court.