Rugby Union: Springboks play Montgomery as their wild card
Chris Hewett meets the new cap relishing the challenge of playing out of position against Guscott and Gibbs
For every supporter who considers the 23-year-old utility back from Western Province to be the best thing since sliced bread, there is an opponent who sees him as a potential liability. Given that he is making his Test bow in a match of almost unimaginable importance to the Springbok rugby psyche, Du Plessis must be hoping the pro-Montgomery faction are on the ball in their judgement.
For all the public debate, there is no real doubt over Montgomery's ability. Quick enough to play Currie Cup rugby on the wing, secure enough to earn a crust as a leading provincial full-back and organised enough to have impressed, if only in flashes, as an outside-half when Western Province took the Lions all the way in Cape Town three weeks ago, he boasts the full range of rugby gifts. Today, he plays opposite Jeremy Guscott at outside centre and will almost certainly start as the Springboks goal- kicker into the bargain.
"Everyone asks me my favourite position and the truth is that I would like to return to full-back at some stage," he said yesterday. "That being said, I'm enjoying my experience as a centre and I'm completely confident of fitting in quickly with the rest of the Springbok backs. The squad are very supportive of each other - if something goes wrong, everyone is in it together - and while all this is new to me in a match sense, I've been in camp for most of the last month and feel part of the scene."
Question marks over Montgomery's defensive attributes will only be erased if and when he survives his first big hit from Scott Gibbs. "I was criticised early in my career for being too lightweight," he admitted, "but I've worked hard in the gym, eaten the right foods and filled out a hell of a lot over the last few months.
"Although I respect Gibbs and Guscott as a dangerous combination, I feel perfectly equipped to cope." Bold words from a bold new talent.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Cardiff City launch ‘fraud’ probe into summer transfer spending
Sami Khedira to Arsenal? Arsene Wenger reveals Gunners are still in the market for defensive midfielder
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Risky business to think Balotelli can replace Suarez
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...
£40000 - £43000 Per Annum plus company bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...