Instead of naming their team yesterday as planned for this Saturday's second Test, the selectors have been summoned to Cape Town today to be given a guiding hand - or maybe a clip round the ear - by Louis Luyt, the all-powerful president of the South African Rugby Football Union.
The Springbok party to tour New Zealand was also due for announcement yesterday but Luyt appears to have lost faith with his selectors and, quite apart from making them delay their choice, he wants the SARFU to reduce their number from seven to three at a special general meeting to be held on 17 June.
'The situation calls for calmness,' Luyt said.
'Things are very emotional at the moment. We're all smarting. I don't want us shooting from the hip and naming any old team. I've instructed the selectors to meet on Monday and consider things in the cold light of day. I don't want a repeat of (the Lions tour of) 1974 when we panicked and went from bad to worse.'
One might well imagine the response Ian Beer, the president of the Rugby Football Union, would get if he tried to interfere in England selection but, though he denies it, Luyt in effect has a veto on Springbok selection and is even thought to have insisted on the original first- Test choice being altered in three positions.
Meanwhile, the midweekers, who led the way with their improvement against South Africa A last Tuesday, have a chance to sustain the new-found momentum against Eastern Province tomorrow. The England management are more disturbed about their record-breaking Test stand-off, Rob Andrew, who acquired a badly bruised hand at Loftus. Andrew says he will be fit for the Cape Town Test, and the management say so will Dean Richards, who lasted an hour on Saturday before his niggly calf overcame him.
ENGLAND (v Eastern Province, Port Elizabeth, tomorrow): J Callard (Bath); D Hopley (Wasps), S Potter (Leicester), M Catt, A Adebayo; S Barnes (Bath), S Bates (Wasps); G Rowntree (Leicester), G Dawe, J Mallett (Bath), S Shaw (Bristol), M Poole (Leicester), L Dallaglio, D Ryan (Wasps, capt), S Ojomoh (Bath). Replacements: P Hull (Bristol), P de Glanville (Bath), D Morris (Orrell), V Ubogu (Bath), B Moore (Harlequins), T Rodber (Northampton).
Eastern Province: A Fourie; A Markow, R Potgieter, F Crous, M van Vuuren; B Kruger, A Coetzee; G Halford, J Kirsten, W Meyer, A Geldenhuys, E van den Bergh, M Mostert (capt), H Karele, S Tremain. Replacements: M Knoetze, R Lurie, F Erasmus, H Roberts, N Meyer.
More rugby, page 28Reuse content