July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized
As we will probably start saying farewell to Springbok stalwarts like Smit, Matfield, Bakkies & De Villiers after the upcoming Rugby World Cup, it’s fantastic to know that there are players who, eventhough they might not be able to completely fill the shoes of the above mentioned immediately it will definitely be exciting to watch them grow into stalwarts in their own way & their own type of play.
Senior Boks like Du Preez, Smith, Burger, Fourie, Habana are still on the right side of 30 and would you consider Frans & JP as seniors even though they’re still only 25?? Anyways, with those guys all still on the right side of 30: if they’re still hungry enough and their play haven’t reduced that much, any Bok coach will be a fool not to use them.
I’ve scrabbled together a list of about 40.. 45.. players who can and probably will represent the Boks for the next 4 years and even though it was a bit of a struggle picking a starting 15 out of the bunch I think I got it down..
Coenie Oosthuizen will definitely give him a run for his money and after a very good Super rugby season, Bulls prop Dean Greyling also threw his name in the bucket but Beast is still my nr. 1. Just don’t play him in matches involving Bryce Lawrence coz even when the Beast does nothing, he’s still too “dangerous” for opponents.
It’s a given that once Smit hangs up his boots, Bismarck will rightfully take up his place as the Springbok’s starting hooker. Competition is not that stiff for Sharks man unless those in power decide to make Chilliboy the next Bok captain, wouldn’t that be just bad luck for the hooker from Bloem. Speaking of Bloem, I haven’t forgotten about Strauss and I really hope that one of the WP hookers start getting the coaches attention.
Tighthead (in my books) is always a problem with the Boks coz there’s ALWAYS a nr.3 who’s playing the world on fire somewhere other than in South Africa and then question marks start popping up about the incumbent’s who is playing in SA. And then those who were so on fire abroad come & play for the Boks and then they’re just as average as the player they replace. Having said that, tighthead is probably one of the most easiest spots to get into Bok 15 as Jannie haven’t secured that position yet.
Nr.4 Lock: Flip
I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Flip yet as I believe that he has always played with the added pressure of playing in the position Bakkies has ruled ever since he made his Bok debut. But with Bakkies out the picture I think Flip will speed up his development and really come into his own in the Bok setup. Ps: IF Elstadt can back up his debut super rugby performance with another good season, he’ll start banging on the Bok door very soon.
Nr.5 Lock: Bekker
Just like in Bismark’s case, you won’t have to look past the he tall man mountain from the Cape as a replacement for the legend that is Victor Matfield. Bekker also brings value in another dimension as he can even be considered a potential Bok captain. Hargreaves, in my book should be his understudy.
Flank. 6: Brussow
This is where it starts getting very interesting: The loosies!!! With so many quality players it’s more a question of who do you play as to who do you leave out. So far Brussow really just had one full season with the boks (2009) but what a season it was. One player standing in his way though is the man who Jake White said does the job of 3 players and that’s Schalk Burger. Yes I know there’s Stegman and Daniel but throw in the fact that Burger is also considered by many experts to take over the captaincy from Smit and suddenly Brussow’s (much less to say the other “fetchers”) position doesn’t look that certain. But I have a solution for this:
Flank 7. Smith
Make Juan Smith your Bok captain. It has been 2 years in a row now that Smith has been out with injuries for very long periods of time but few can deny that he’s still a quality player. With his lead-by-example type of leadership, I think he’ll make a very good Bok captain. But with talents like Alberts & Johnson, Deysel & even Potgieter & Louw waiting in the wings, one thing is for sure: No. 7 will not be a problem for the Springboks.
When oh when will this guy’s chance come?? Arguably SA’s best nr. 8 for the last 2 years and not even one Bok cap to show for it. Spies and Kankowski are still “young” enough to be in the Bok setup until the RWC 2015 and if they play better than the Stormers big man, I’m ok with that but I really hope the next Bok coach give Duane a chance regardless of the former players’ form. OOH!! Keep your eye on Junior bok captain Arno Botha from the Bulls. What do those guys eat up there?? Damn!!!
Fourie took over from Joost and I think the Blue Bull trend will continue with Francois. McLeod looks like he’s been bumped up to the 3rd or 4th place after Ricky McJanuary decided to retire from international rugby. Ruan Pienaar is also a valid candidate but I think he’ll have a much better chance if he comes back to SA and there for Hougaard will probably be the nr.9 should FdP not be there anymore.
Flyhalf: Steyn (Morne)
After much consideration, I’d play Steyn at 10 because coz he’ll still be a point machine for seasons to come. If Lambie continues to improve (and also considering who the next Bok coach will be) he’ll probably be the Bok 10 in no time. I haven’t given up on Peter Grant yet and still believe he can offer the Boks something special but then once again it’s going to be up to the coach who can throw one from left field and bring in young stars like Elton & Sias.
Left Wing: Mvovo / Basson
Big, strong and fast.. What else do you want from a winger. He beats out Basson by a whisker to claim jersey nr.11 but it will be a lot of fun to see how these 2 fight for a position owned by Habana for the last 5 or 6 years.
Inside centre: Steyn (Francois)
At first I actually put de Jongh’s name in here and it’s very possible that he could play here for the Boks for a lot of seasons but Steyn is only 25 years old and he’s played 12 for club & country a lot of times. Considering we’ll lose a big 12 in de Villiers very soon, why not replace him with a very big guy? Another youngster to look out for is Francois Venter who was brilliant for the babyBoks.
Outside centre Fourie
If he still wants to play for the Boks, then who’s to stand in the way of Mr. Consistency himself: Jaque Fourie. Arguably one of the best 13’s in the world, he might not make it to the next RWC but he can still play on a very high level for another 1 – 3 seasons. De Jongh will probably be his deputy but maybe Robert Ebersohn should also be pulled closer to the Bok camp. Also keep a close look on the progress of Sadie.
Right Wing: Aplon / JP
Another toss up between 2 quality players. Hmmm, I’m still not sure but I’d go for JP here who is amazingly younger than Aplon. The Durban winger has been a bit under the radar the last couple of years but this season with Sharks, he showed what he’s still capable of doing. It’s up to you coach!!!
Larkham started his career his Wallaby career at 15 but became better known as one half of the 9/10 combination with Gregan that cut defenses to shreds. With Morne still around and Francois a nr. 12 candidate, why not give the youngster a season or 2 to settle at fullback? We know he can play 10 too but Lambie is still young and there is no need to rush him but I hope that they don’t mess him around like we did with Steyn & Pienaar. Jaco Taute could also be an option.
The Bok coach (whether it’s the incumbent or a new one) will have his own players in mind as he’s got his own ideas and strategies he wants to implement but I have to say, my starting 15 doesn’t look that bad ey??