Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

‘X-factor Lions players ready to show the Boks what they’ve got’

It has been a long stretch for the Lions without a Bok representative in their team, going through the whole previous World Cup cycle without one.

Lions assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher says that the selection of six of their players for the first Springbok alignment camp of the season has brought a lot of excitement into the union.

Henco van Wyk, Sanele Nohamba, Jordan Hendrikse, Quan Horn, Ruan Venter and Morne van den Berg were all named in the 43-player group that will meet in Cape Town early next week.

ALSO READ: Sanele Nohamba opens up about revival, Bok call-up – ‘I am enjoying my rugby again’

It has been a long stretch for the Lions without a Bok representative in their team, with them going through the whole previous World Cup cycle without a single one, but they will hope that a few of these six will make the main Bok squad ahead of the international season starting in June.

X-factor players

“You look at the names they picked. Henco, Quan, Sanele, Jordan, Morne, Ruan, these players have an X-factor that they bring to our team and hopefully they can take their game to the next level,” said Loubscher.

“We hope they will get an opportunity to take it further than just the alignment camp, but we are all excited, we are excited for them. And I think that is a step in the right direction for us.

“A lot of credit must also go to our recruitment system, these boys played for us at junior level and ideally that’s what we are looking for.

“For them to make the step-up from junior rugby and get into the United Rugby Championship (URC) or the Challenge Cup squad. But we are really excited and can’t wait for their opportunity.”

Valuable experience

Even if none of them were to kick on and get into the Bok squad for their one off game against Wales at Twickenham, incoming tour against Ireland and Portugal and the Rugby Championship, Loubscher believes they will learn a lot from the Bok environment and bring that back to the union.

“A lot of credit must go to them, they are working really hard. I think it is a great opportunity, just to get into a different environment, to get a feel for what it is like to be part of a Springbok set-up where the intensity is right up there,” explained Loubscher.

“The preparation, the attention to detail, and getting a feel of training with someone like a Pieter-Steph du Toit. I hope they are going to come back and all the intellectual property will filter through to our players and our squad. Who knows, maybe we will see five more players there.”

“That was our game plan from the start, to fast track those boys, give them opportunity, get exposure at this level and hopefully they can become great Springboks one day.”

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits