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Rassie Erasmus: Why Boks dropped Joseph Dweba

By Jan De Koning
(Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

Joseph Dweba has started in three Tests at hooker this year, but he has been ‘relegated’ to the South Africa ‘A’ team for the year-end tour.

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Malcolm Marx, 28 with 55 Test caps, and Mbongeni Mbonambi (31 and 52 Tests) are the two frontline hookers.

Deon Fourie, 36 and three caps, is listed as a utility forward that covers both looseforward and hooker.

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Dweba (27, four Tests) and Andre-Hugo Venter (uncapped Stormers front row forward) are the specialist hookers in the ‘A’.

Erasmus confirmed that Fourie was selected ‘ahead’ of Dweba in the pecking order for hookers.

“We had opportunities during the Rugby Championship,” he said of Dweba – who started in the losses to New Zealand (23-35) at Ellispark and Australia (17-25) in Adelaide.

It was obvious there are aspects of his game that requires attention – especially the lineouts.

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It was also glaringly obvious in the Stormers’ 31-22 come-from-behind win over the Lions at Ellis Park this past weekend that his set-piece game needs some improvement.

The Stormers were trailing 10-22 when Jean-Jacques Kotze replaced the Bok at hooker early in the second half.

Once the line-outs were sorted, the Stormers produced a shut-out of the Lions.

“People will say you need to give guys an opportunity and see where they are at,” Erasmus said, adding: “They must grow and get better from there.

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“Deon Fourie is a real option to take to the World Cup, just like Schalk Britz was [in 2019].

“We have three hookers in Malcolm [Marx], Bongi [Mbongeni Mbonambi] and Deon [Fourie].

“Deon scrums and also do line-outs and mauling at hooker for us at the moment.”

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He explained that the SA ‘A’ team has two hookers – Dweba and Andre-Hugo Venter, with Bulls youngster Jan-Hendrik Wessels that was selected as a loosehead prop, but can also fill in at hooker.

“We have good stock at hooker for the six games [on tour],” the DoR said of the encounters against Ireland, France, Italy and Ireland – with midweek matches against Munster and the Bristol Bears for the SA ‘A’ team.

Dweba will have the two midweek matches to show what improvements he has made to the obvious shortcomings in his game.

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