Now that their Rugby Championship campaign is winding down, it is time to turn an eye towards the Springboks’ upcoming tour. Much has been said about their lack of depth in certain positions and Allister Coetzee has spoken about the team being in a building phase. This would be a great opportunity for the Boks to bring in some young players and build depth with the 2019 World Cup in Japan looming on the horizon. There are several players who should get a seat on the plane and we have pinpointed five in particular that are worthy of inclusion.
Pace, power, work rate and a nose for the try line are just some of the hallmarks of the talented young winger’s game. He had some impressive performances during the Super Rugby season and he has carried that form forward into the Currie Cup. He is big, strong and shows plenty of potential for skill development. When you watch this young man play you get the sense, it is only a matter of time until he is a consistent performer in the green and gold, but his development has to be handled in the right way. He was called into the South Africa squad for a few days recently and that is just reward for his performances. South Africa have a genuine gem on their hands here and a spot on the November tour will help him settle into the international environment he will be a part of for years to come.
Vermeulen is another good young player coming out of the Sharks system. He is a strong and dynamic ball carrier who gets through a lot of work on the field. He has a raw and abrasive style of play that is coupled with some deft touches that make him reminiscent of an older Schalk Burger. He is a menace at the breakdown and is good at finding himself rampaging over the line for a try. He would add quality depth in the back row and given his tender age he will only benefit from learning from the likes of Siya Kolisi, Jaco Kriel, and Warren Whiteley.
This young fly-half is every bit a star in the making. A great balanced runner with a sublime step, great vision, and ever improving game management skills, Willemse add some much-needed depth to the No. 10 position. He has gone about his work well in the Currie Cup, scoring some beautiful individual tries and setting up opportunities for his fellow backs. He attacks the line well, which is a trait the Springboks are lacking in their current fly-halves at the moment. He has potential and must be given a chance to settle into the Springbok environment while immediately bringing a different type of attacking threat that would benefit the team.
The Lions midfielder has been a consistent performer this year in both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup competitions. He was one of the in-form centres during Super Rugby and turned in some huge performances. He meets the typical size criteria for Springbok midfielders but brings in a wonderful mix of pace, vision, and enterprise which is exactly what the South Africa are missing in their current midfield. He has an ability to run both the aggressive lines against the grain of the defence and the lines on the outside which create space and opportunities for his finishers. He has struck a great balance in terms of when and where he runs these angles to best help his team. He was an integral part of the Johannesburg outfit’s charge towards the Super Rugby final.
The slippery Blue Bulls fullback has been a consistent performer for the men from Pretoria as the team goes through a transition period. He has an ability to break the line at will and his evasive capabilities are outstanding. He has created and scored some wonderful tries this year and is a genuine threat every time he has possession of the ball from anywhere on the pitch. He is a good kicker out of hand and is a great option for exit plays. It would be good to see him have time to learn in the Springbok environment in which he will undoubtedly improve quickly. He would also add depth to a rather thin back three division.
Did we miss anyone? Who would be in your touring party? Comment below!
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