While Heyneke Meyer has been building his Rugby World Cup squad over the course of the last three and a half years – giving his preferred players test experience and not being overly generous with Springbok caps – we believe that there are a few uncapped Super 15 players that warrant 11th hour Bok call ups.
Time has proven the old adage true: experience wins Rugby World Cups. And I am not here to argue that point. On any given game day your team has to feature names like Jean De Villiers, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger if you want to be successful.
But what about the rest of the team? Is there room in the Rugby World Cup squad for a new, uncapped talent?
We think so and in this week’s #LeftBackHigh5, we’re gonna go ahead and name names.
5) Steven Kitshoff
What a season this kid has had. Chief destroyer in the Stormers pack, Kitsie has given some of the Southern Hemisphere’s top props a torrid time in the scrums. Not only that, but he gets around the park, making carriers, making tackles and generally flying the flag for gingers everywhere.
In my opinion, Kitshoff is not only pushing hard for a spot in the squad, he is pushing for the starting no.1 jumper. Lock him down SARU!
4) Vincent Koch
Another front row relevation plying his trade in Cape Town this season – Vincent Koch has emerged, from nowhere really, as a strong contender for a RWC spot. Similar to Kitsie, Koch is a scrummaging machine, that gets around the paddock very effectively. While mostly employed as an impact player of late, Koch is the kind of guy you’d be able to turn to when you need to scrum another team off the ball late in the game.
3) Jaco Kriel
The aforementioned Stormers frontrowers are in the fortunate position that the Springbok prop levels are looking a little thin – but this is certainly not the case at loose forward. Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi can all do the business at the World Cup and do it adequately; but I can’t help but feel that there is a spot in the team for this guy. He just has something special.
2) Jesse Kriel
Jesse Kriel made a strong start to the season and while things have fizzled a tad since (due to injury etc.) he is another player with bucket loads of raw talent. Currently the player with the second most metres run in the competition, Kriel can run, he can kick, and at an impressive 1.86m tall he provides some additional security at the back.
1) Lionel Mapoe
It’s hard to believe that Mapoe is only 26 years old. It feels like he has been playing for a decade at least. Somewhat of a SA rugby journeyman, Mapoe has played for the Cheetahs, Sharks, Bulls and now the Lions where, it has to be said, he is playing some of his best rugby to date. Regarded way back in 2009, as a “springbok in the making”, Mapoe’s career has been dogged by a string of serious injuries but it’s great to see him back and vying for a Bok spot.
Outside centre is looking very uncertain at the moment – could Mapoe be the answer? It’s certainly possible.
There ya go – five guys who are seriously gunning for a spot in the Bok squad. Have we left off the list? Do you think we might be smoking our rugby socks? Good, get involved in the comments or hit us with a tweet @leftbacks.
See you on the other side!