One of the key trends in Super Rugby 2017 has been the emergence of young super talent and while this has buoyed the spirit of South African rugby fans it also makes these young men targets for big spending European clubs.
As things stands, overseas based players are still eligible to play for the Springboks and while I don’t think that will change – SA Rugby has recently introduced a minimum 30 cap policy that will run until the 2019 World Cup. While this policy might keep already capped Springboks in the republic, it’ll do little for those who are uncapped and more predisposed to big Euro offers.
So SA Rugby needs to find ways of locking the next generation of Springbok talent down for the next 5 years.
Let’s take a closer look at 5 of them:
1. Curwin Bosch
Bosch has arguably been the find of the whole damn 2017 tournament so far. While he is not the biggest bloke on the field, he combines blistering pace with skills, a monster boot and versatility at both 10 and 15 that makes he incredibly valuable. Don’t be surprised if he is part of the Springbok mix in June.
2. Warrick Gelant
Gelant has been a part of a poor Bulls setup so far in 2017 but he has shown glimpses of what he is capable of. A player very similar to Bosch, the fact that Gelant plays in a losing team could make him even more susceptible to a European offer. We need to act fast.
3. Rohan Janse Van Rensburg
Janse Van Rensburg is without a doubt a future mid field regular. At 22 years old, he stands 1.85 cms tall and tips the scale at 109 kgs making him a powerful asset in any team. Lastly, he’ll come up against few opposition with arms long enough to wrap around those thighs so that’s a plus.
4. Sikhumbuzo Notshe
Notshe is a supreme athlete and it is only a matter of time before he becomes a mainstay in the Springbok setup. Sure, his game might need a bit more balance between defence and attack but at 23 years of age you’d expect that he still has some work to do.
5. Damian Willemse
Not much is known about Willemse but that is because he is only 18 years old and has had all of 10 minutes of Super Rugby action. But few South African prospects are as exciting as this kid. With a slight height to weight ratio on Curwin Bosch you’d expect that that these two are the future Lambie/Pollard dynamic at play in the current setup. Watch this video for more on Damian:
6. Jean-luc Du Preez
Jean-luc was one of the stand out performers of the 2016 Super Rugby season and to be honest, his brothers and cousins could all be worth holding on to too. It was as if ex Springboks Robert Du Preez and Michael and Carel Du Plessis conspired to ensure that the future Springbok team had a healthy Du Plessis/Du Preez flavour. Standing at 1.94m tall and tipping the scales at 113kgs, Jean-luc is a traditional Springbok bruiser and has a bright future ahead of him. If we can keep him.
There you have it – 6 youngsters that SA Rugby needs to hold on to. What do you think? Anyone we have left off the list? As always we’d love to hear from you so hit us with a tweet @leftbacks or a comment below and let’s chat.