Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Ivan van Rooyen proud of Lions’ Springbok prospects

Four players are in line to potentially feature against Wales at Twickenham next weekend.

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen is immensely proud of their contingent of Springbok squad members who are in line to make their international debuts against Wales at Twickenham next weekend.

The first Bok training group of the season, with the full focus on the Welsh game which falls outside of the international Test window, was announced by coach Rassie Erasmus on Saturday, with four Lions players included.

Fullback Quan Horn, wing Edwill van der Merwe, flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse and scrumhalf Morne van den Berg were picked as part of a 35-man squad, and they could now get their first taste of Test rugby.

Morne van den Berg
Morne van den Berg. Picture: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

Lions’ potential Boks

Horn, Hendrikse and Van Den Berg were all involved in the Bok alignment camps earlier this season, so were always in line for selection, but Van Der Merwe was a surprise pick after not being involved in any of them.

“I am extremely proud of them. One of our goals was to produce Springboks and we’ve now seen quite a few of our guys being looked at from a national level, so it’s pleasing to see,” said Van Rooyen.

“Edwill has been great for us since joining and his consistent performances have been massive for the Lions. He’s always been in the Springbok conversation so for him to get the recognition is awesome.

“They are all good enough to get a crack at that opportunity (against Wales) so it will be exciting if they get it.”

Jordan Hendrikse
Jordan Hendrikse. Picture: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Nohamba exclusion

A few Lions players were however unfortunate to miss out on selection, with injury and suspension putting paid to Henco van Wyk and Ruan Venter’s chances respectively, while Sanele Nohamba was likely left out due to a recent concussion.

“The fact that they were invited to the various alignment camps tells us that Rassie and his management see something in them. Unfortunately, injury and suspension halted their advancement a bit, but I’m sure they’ll form part of the plans over the next months,” said Van Rooyen.

“It’s difficult to say (why Nohamba was left out), but we all know the quality Sanele possesses. I’m confident that an opportunity will present itself for him in the future.”

The Lions will now hope that these Springbok selections will ignite a fire in some of their other players to help improve their game and the team in the future.

“Like I said, there are a few Springbok potentials within our system. And yes, seeing their teammates achieve this type of success is a definite motivator to work hard, remain consistent and the rest should take care of itself,” admitted Van Rooyen.

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Lions rugby team Springboks (Bokke/Boks)

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