After week three of Super Rugby, we wrote a piece on the 15 players most deserving of a Bok call up, irrespective of reputation or experience. Go here to see that list.
As we enter week nine of the same competition, we thought we’d do the same exercise – a Bok Barometer if you will. While the easiest would be to make the entire Lions team Springboks – we’d love to see that kind of fighting spirit at the World Cup – there are a handful of other guys who also deserve a look.
Here they are:
15) Jesse Kriel (Bulls)
There is just a magic about young Jesse Kriel – it’s a sort of like Cheslin Kolbe magic but twice as big. While he had a quiet game against the Lions, in my opinion he’s been SA’s best fullback so far in the competition.
14) Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs)
While Cornal has been nowhere near his best so far this season, he’s still proven to be one of the best wings in the country. Ranked 4th for tries and 5th for clean breaks, you can’t help but feel like he is not being put to good use in a losing Cheetahs side.
13) Lionel Mapoe (Lions)
This was a tough one as I think the Cheetahs’ Francois Venter has been good too, but my starting 13 would be Mapoe. Mapoe might not be the most skilful centre on the planet – but he is big and strong and he has an eye for a gap.
12) Damian De Allende (Stormers)
As just about the only Stormers back that knows how to get over the advantage line, Damian would retain his spot in my team. While he still needs to prove himself at international level, De Allende will be a key man in the post JdV Bok era.
11) Andries Coetzee (Lions)
This guy exemplifies that Lions tenacity we’ve all come to know and love. He just never stops trying and will throw on any jersey just to be a part of the team.
10) Pat Lambie (Sharks)
While Elton Jantjies has impressed in the no.10 spot for the Lions, I rate Pat still holds onto the jersey in my Bok team. For me, Pat brings a dynamic to the attack that Jantjies does not naturally possess.
9) Kobus Reinach (Sharks)
Reinach has been the Sharks’ best player so far in the competition and currently sits atop the Super Rugby stack when it comes to line breaks. I really rate this guy. Groom from the Stormers has been good here too though.
8) Warren Whiteley (Lions)
While Duane has been good (when he has played), there is just something so special about Whiteley that he’d pip him to the number 8 spot in my team. Whiteley currently leads the competition from a tackle count point of view with 117 – that’s 14 a game!
7) Warwick Tecklenburg (Lions)
Tecklenburg has been immense for the Lions – not only has he made the second most tackles in the competition, he’s also made the second most turnovers.
6) Schalk Burger (Stormers)
While Marcell Coetzee has been his industrious best at maul time and around the park, the Incredible Schalk would get the nod as the final piece of the loose forward puzzle. Schalk is just a phenomenon and, like most of the Lions team, is the kind of player that would happily lay his life on the line for the team. Just the kind of attitude the Boks need.
5) Franco Mostert (Lions)
While young Franco does tend to give away the odd penalty, ok maybe more than just the odd one, he offers a belligerence to the forward pack and, in my opinion, at least one of your locks has to bring this.
4) Eben Etzebeth (Stormers)
While I’d have loved to see Eben packing down with Steph Du Toit, I do think that he and Franco would make a killer combination. It’s scary to think that Etzebeth is only 22.
3) Vincent Koch (Stormers)
It’s no coincidence that the Stormers scrum started to dominate as soon as Koch came on board. While modern props have become adept at running and passing, in my team a tighthead prop’s job is to destroy the other guy at scrum time.
2) Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers)
Scarra has been one of the stars of an otherwise average Stormers team. He is everywhere. This was another tough call to make as Armand “Akker” Van Der Merwe has also made a massive impact when he’s come on.
1) Steven Kitshoff (Stormers)
Kistie is another real player to watch. He is solid in the scrums, carries the ball well and has even been known to the pinch the odd ball at ruck time. The best number 1 in the country at the moment.
There you have it, a Springbok team chosen on nothing but Super 15 form. What are your thoughts on the selections? Any disagreements? Want Jean Deysel in your team? Great, hit us with a comment or tweet us @leftbacks and make your opinion known!