After three rounds of the Rugby Championship the Springboks look out of depth in certain positions.
Although the difference in difficulty between the Currie Cup and international level is massive, there are some players who have definitely made a case to be included in the end of year touring squad.
Here are some of the candidates…
Rohan Janse Van Rensburg
Ever since his debut in Super Rugby, this burly centre has impressed in the Lions jersey and turning heads the world over. His power and acceleration would provide the Springboks with a useful midfield battering ram. Janse Van Rensburg has also proved he is an excellent distributor, as we saw this Super Rugby season. His elusiveness is also something to marvel at, given he has only played one Currie Cup game this year and already ranks fifth in defenders beaten. Janse Van Rensburg could provide the answer to an unclaimed number 12 jersey.
Nche has had a break-out season in the Currie Cup. The rambunctious young loosehead has been nothing less than spectacular after three Man-of-the-Match performances in four games. He scrums like a seasoned veteran and his midfield runs make him look like a centre, and he already has two assists in this tournament. This man needs to be on the end of year tour even just to carry tackle bags and get a sense of the Springbok camps. He is only 21 and has plenty of time to grow into the Springbok stalwart he has the potential to become.
Jean-Luc du Preez
Teboho Mohoje has been excellent this Rugby Championship but in case of an injury to the tackle machine, it would be wise for Coetzee to blood another option at blindside flank. Du Preez’s sheer physical attributes would suggest the tear-away was bred to play rugby. Besides his size, he’s an incredibly skilled player, who bosses the breakdown while dominating the collisions. He should definitely be flagged for a Bok call-up soon.
There has been a lot of criticism around the selection of Bryan Habana in the South African side. It’s probably unwarranted regarding the low levels of experience in the new generation of Springboks Coetzee is trying to forge. Nevertheless, Habana is on the older side at 33, quite old for an international winger. Luckily for the South African rugby public we have some great replacements beginning to make an impression. Jamba Ulengo was a star performer for the SA Sevens side, and this year the big winger has been incredible for the Bulls in Super Rugby, carrying that momentum going into the Currie Cup. Ulengo has scored two tries so far proving his nose for the line is still as sharp as ever. His linking ability has also been a strong trait for the Vryburg-born speedster as he has assisted three tries this tournament alone. Ulengo is 26 now but could definitely still add value to the Springboks.
After Willie le Roux left a void in the back field, the young utility-back could strengthen the Springbok’s depth at full-back. The Port Elizabethan has clocked the second most points this competition with 71 and second most in penalty kicks. He also provides an electric attacking option as he showed earlier this year for the Baby Boks as well as his attacking prowess in the Currie Cup. He displayed real star quality when he single handedly scored 21 points against the Bulls a few weeks ago.