With the B&I Lions collection quick approaching and key males nonetheless injured, we check out the choices the Springboks have at lock.
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This week Toulon introduced that Eben Etzebeth can be dominated out for ‘a number of weeks’ having damaged a finger throughout coaching. The damage to the Bok enforcer means he joins Lood de Jager and RG Snyman on the listing of sidelined Springbok second rowers.
Whereas the damage to Etzebeth shouldn’t put him prone to dropping out on a spot within the Lions collection, the scenario with the opposite two is extra tenuous. Each males are recovering from knee accidents and although it’s felt De Jager’s is much less critical than first predicted, there stays a lot uncertainty over RG Snyman.
Having three of the nation’s top-four locks out of motion shouldn’t be a place Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber would have wished to search out themselves in. They are going to quietly be drawing up contingencies and assessing their choices ought to the worst come to the worst.
On the brilliant facet, South Africa has by no means lacked for high quality at lock and there are a variety of candidates who’re knocking on the Springbok door – able to take up the mantle ought to they be known as upon.
It’s subsequently price exploring what choices can be found to the Bok coaches ought to any of the aforementioned gamers be unavailable. In making this choice, they are going to be required to find out whether or not to pick out a specialist second rower or a participant who provides versatility at blindside, too.
JD Schickerling might rely himself as unlucky to not have a Springbok cap to his identify already. He performed for South Africa A in opposition to a touring England Saxons workforce in 2016 and earned a call-up to the Bok squad in 2018.
Schickerling’s identify has been frequently floated in Bok circles and he might lastly get his likelihood this yr after enjoying stellar rugby throughout South Africa’s home competitions. The towering Stormers man has this far resisted abroad curiosity within the hope of furthering his Bok ambitions – he might but be rewarded.
Ruben van Heerden was a stunning omission from the Springbok Inexperienced and Springbok Gold squads who performed in an exhibition match previous to South Africa’s home season beginning. The 23-year-old has clearly taken that snub personally and has been a demon within the engine room ever since.
Together with Schickerling, Van Heerden has been the standout second rower on South Africa’s home circuit this yr. He’s additionally one of the crucial improved gamers in all of SA rugby – the talisman he’s now for the Sharks is a far cry from the inexperienced participant who struggled on the Vodacom Bulls.
Marvin Orie is one other whose identify must enter the dialog. The previous Lion (now Stormer) has three Bok caps however has all of the expertise to earn extra. At solely 110kg, Orie is a extra cellular possibility ought to the Boks require it.
This isn’t to say that Orie doesn’t even have a bodily edge. Quite the opposite, the massive second rower is understood for seeking to impose himself on the opposition and has grappled with ill-discipline up to now. If he can type out this ingredient of his recreation, Orie may very well be nicely positioned to stake his declare.
Pieter-Steph du Toit has been an absolute revelation on the blindside flank. A lot in order that it’s straightforward to overlook that he began his Springbok profession at lock. Although Rassie and Nienaber are doubtlessly reluctant to maneuver Du Toit away from his finest place, if circumstances demand it, he’s a secure wager to excel at lock, too.
Jason Jenkins has prompted a little bit of a stir after deciding to signal with Irish giants Munster. The previous Bull was in high quality kind earlier this yr in South Africa’s home competitions. Jenkins is a strong ball-carrying possibility – one thing that has been clear since his SA U20 days – however can be surprisingly cellular.
The 122kg behemoth already has one Bok cap to his identify (in Erasmus’ first Take a look at in cost in 2018) and so is clearly already on the Springbok radar. His abrasive and highly effective fashion may very well be simply what the Boks are after to entrance the Lions.
Rhynhard Elstadt is one other who matches the identical mould as Jenkins, standing almost 2m tall and weighing in at 120kg. Elstadt has two caps for the Boks however has sometimes been utilized by Erasmus as an possibility on the blindside moderately than within the second row. Nonetheless, Elstadt has proven he can excel at lock and has frequently turned out for his membership Toulouse on this place.
Stephan Lewies could also be a much less talked about potential Springbok, however his identify deserves inclusion. The Harlequins captain has been excellent within the second row throughout this season’s Gallagher Premiership. The previous Sharks man is one other who boasts a great steadiness between energy and mobility.
Lewies has one Springbok cap relationship all the best way again to 2014 but in addition performed for South Africa A in 2016. Given his present kind and management qualities, there could also be an out of doors likelihood for him to drive his approach again into the choice framework.
Jannes Kirsten has merely been sensational for the Exeter Chiefs. Although he’s much less eye-catching than most of the different names talked about, few can match Kirsten’s insatiable work price. The red-bearded warrior isn’t afraid to go to the ‘darkish locations’ for his workforce. Rassie and Jacques typically prioritise angle over expertise and few may argue that Kirsten doesn’t have it in droves.
Word: Franco Mostert wasn’t mentioned as it’s assumed he can be concerned within the Springbok squad.
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