Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


OPINION: SA loose forwards lining up to get into Nienaber’s Bok team

Outside of the Bok setup a big group of players have impressed and would walk into most international sides.


The one position the Springboks do not need to worry about now or in the near future is in the loose forward department, where once again South Africans have starred in various competitions around the world.

In the Bok squad named for the international season, regulars Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Kwagga Smith and Jasper Wiese were picked, along with Marcell Coetzee earning a recall and new caps Evan Roos, Deon Fourie and Elrigh Louw being rewarded for their form over the past season.

Franco Mostert and Rynhardt Elstadt will provide cover as utility forwards, making for a very strong department.

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First choice eighthman Duane Vermeulen recently underwent knee surgery and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber intimated that he would be brought into the squad once cleared to play later in the season.

A battle for his jersey will thus be on the cards, with Roos, Wiese and Smith probably the three players vying for the spot.

Wiese was named man-of-the-match in the English Premiership final over this past weekend, after helping his side Leicester Tiger win the title, Roos cleaned up in the URC awards and helped the Stormers claim the title, while Smith became the second choice eighthman on last years end of year tour.

All three players should thus be in contention and could wear the Bok number eight shirt during the Welsh incoming series.

Outside the setup

Outside of the Bok setup a big group of players have impressed and would walk into most international sides, but due to the fierce competition and limited spaces, are unable to make it into the SA squad.

Leicester vice-captain Hanro Liebenburg, the du Preez twins Jean-Luc and Dan, Ruan Ackermann and Marco van Staden are all international quality players, who are just unlucky to be in a position that is completely filled.

A few players are also bubbling under and could become future Boks if they continue their top form, with DRC-born flank Vincent Tshituka a shoe in once he sorts his citizenship, while Sharks eighthman Phepsi Buthelezi and Stormers loosie Hacjivah Dayimani proving this season that they belong in the big leagues.

Over to you then Mr Jacques Nienaber.

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