Allister Coetzee’s first Springbok squad has finally been announced and while there are one or two left field picks – overall the squad is more or less what we expected.
This is an announcement I have been looking forward to for a while. I have felt from the start that the squad was going to be interesting due to the fact that we lost a far amount of talent at the end of RWC 2015.
Overall, the luck of the Irish are with these guys:
- Garth April
- Bongi Mbonambi
- Nic Groom
- Jesse Kriel
While these are unlucky:
- Franco Mostert
- Charles Marais
- Francois Venter
- Jamba Ulengo
But what do we think of the specific players and wherever or not they deserve their spot?
Let’s dive right in shall we.
Pieter-Steph du Toit
PsdT has been the best lock in SA during the course of the Super Rugby tourney and he certainly deserves his spot. He’ll start for sure too.
Eben hasn’t had the best Super Rugby tournament but I couldn’t imagine a Bok team without him.
Kolisi wasn’t great last year but this year he has been. He has developed an eye for a gap and has a very useful side step on him for a big man.
No question that Frans deserves his spot – he has managed to rack up a fair number of minutes and has made a decent contribution in most of them.
This is the first of the iffy picks for me. While Bongi is one to watch – his lineout throwing can be a bit off at times which is unacceptable at international level. I would’ve preferred this spot going to Akker Van Der Merwe.
I like Notshe – I think he has tremendous talent – but again I’m not sure he stood out enough to warrant a pick. Guys like Warren Tecklenburg or even Jean-Luc Du Preez could’ve worked here.
With Bismarck out of the picture (for now) Scarra will probably find himself second in line for the Bok hooker birth and it’s well deserved. He is handy with ball in hand and has a knack for forcing turnovers at breakdown time.
Kriel, the form flank from the last 2 seasons, FINALLY gets a shot at the green and gold – thanks to AC – but what will be interesting to see now is how he is used. Current loosy crop is tight. Will he start or come on off the bench? Probably the latter.
Another man who should’ve been picked earlier – Redelinghuys will probably find himself in the selection frame for the Irish series.
Much has been made about Whiteley and how he must play and must be captain but I suspect it’ll be the bench for Warren. If that. Good player, lovely guy but he will struggle in the Springbok mix. That’s my prediction.
Used largely as an impact player this year – I’m not sure about this selection. Charl Marais from the Cheetahs should’ve had this spot.
Strauss is a pin point line out forward and is probably the best number 2 in the country right now. He will start and probably be part of the leadership group.
Lood de Jager
Lood hasn’t been at his best this year and his reputation secured his spot in AC’s squad. I’d have preferred this spot going to Franco Mostert from the Lions.
I was hoping Kitsie got a call up and it’s great to see that it’s come true. Please cap him – I’d really hate to see him turning out for Les Bleus one day.
Flo is a great player and totally deserves his spot. Another member of the Bok leadership group.
The Sharks captain hasn’t had the greatest competition but has done enough to secure a spot and probably a start.
Boks best player, he’d be the first name on my list. Still hoping he gets the arm band.
I’m not sure about this one at all. Where is Johan Goosen? Garth April has been good but a Bok call up? If Lambie or Elton goes down – April could be the starting Springbok flyhalf and that thought doesn’t fill me with confidence.
Big fan of Lambie. Hoping he gets the Springbok number 10 jersey. The difference he has made to a struggling Sharks team is plain to see.
Mvovo deserves his spot but with guys like Jamba Ulengo will be breathing down his neck shortly.
Jp is an experienced campaigner but i fear he doesn’t have much left in him. How will the Springboks use him during the Irish tests though? Probably in the starting line up.
Willie Le Roux
With Johan Goosen in the squad – there might have been some uncertainty around who the starting Bok fullback could’ve been but he isn’t so Willie will start.
As I mentioned last week – Combrinck has been the form wing in the competition and he definitely deserves his spot. He’d make my on field 15 too.
Faf De Klerk
Faf is another player who should’ve been picked way earlier and it’s a relief that he is finally getting his chance. Will be interesting to see how he goes at international level though.
I think Jantjies is one of the top 2 flyhalves in SA at the moment and he thoroughly deserves his spot. I have serious worries about his defense though and his ability to play a “non Lions” game plan so we’ll have to see if he proves me wrong.
We predicted in January that Mapoe would finally get a look in now that Meyer is out the picture and it’s great to see that come true. My personal feeling is that Mapoe will go well in the Springbok setup and will make it tough for Jesse Kriel going forward.
Kriel hasn’t had a great season and has struggled to stand out in a struggling Bulls outfit. We are thin at number 13 at the moment and that’s probably why he was picked.
Paige is another one of those players that has battled to bed down a starting spot at domestic level and now he has been picked for the Boks. But, if picking him keeps Pienaar out of the squad then I am happy.
I have always been a Serfontein fan and it’s great to see him playing good rugby. He will go head to head with DdA for the starting number 12 birth and to be honest – he deserves it more at this stage.
Damian de Allende
Damian has been picked on reputation and while few can argue that the big number 12 is a top talent – he isn’t playing well at the moment. Lets hope he lifts his game quickly now that he’s in the Bok frame.
This was one of the stranger picks for me. Groom is a decent provincial player but he is not incisive enough, nor tactically astute enough to cut the mustard at international level at this stage. Are we trying to cap him to keep him in SA? Who knows.
There you have it, folks – our thoughts on the Springbok squad. What are yours? What are your thoughts on our thoughts? Let us know in the comments or hit us with a tweet @leftbacks.
Either way, think it’s time for us to get behind our boys and hope for an easy victory over the Irish.