Bok pack to face England

With England set to run out of the tunnel at Ellis Park in a little over three weeks, the AOR team compares notes on a potential Springbok squad, beginning with the forwards.

Front row
Tank Lanning:
Steven Kitshoff, Bismarck du Plessis, Wilco Louw
Given the various pressures on new coach Rassie Erasmus, the Bok side will suffer some sort of compromise, but that cannot happen in the front row. Sans Marx and Etzebeth, and an out-and-out fetcher, the Boks will need Bismarck’s muscle and stealing ability. Alongside him are the strongest scrummagers available.

Zelím Nel: Beast Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane
Os du Randt retired when he was 35. During his final three seasons, he won a Tri-Nations title and a World Cup. Mtawarira, SA’s most-capped prop, is 32 and he’s finding form.

Nyakane is also pulling out of a lull and it’s time to get a final answer on whether the 37-capper is capable of anchoring the scrum in a starting role. Here’s why I’d pick Strauss.

Tank: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Ruan Botha
Du Toit is a dead cert, Botha is the bolter. The safe option is Mostert, the rangy option is Snyman, both of whom would do the Boks proud. But the edgy option is Botha, as long as he can stay on the park!

Zels: RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit
In the absence of Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager, Snyman partners Du Toit in what may be his only shot to climb into the top three on this list of world-class locks.

Back row
Tank: Siya Kolisi, Jean-Luc du Preez, Duane Vermeulen
I would play an out-and-out fetcher like Louw, Roelof Smit or Marco van Staden, all of whom would balance out a trio with Du Preez and Vermeulen perfectly, but the 2018 Boks simply cannot put out an all-white pack. Given Du Plessis’ skill at the breakdown, Kolisi adds an athletic, ball-carrying balance. The other option is to play Kolisi at 8, and a fetcher at 6.

Zels: Roelof Smit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Duane Vermeulen (c)
Only Malcolm Marx has won more turnovers than Smit during Super Rugby this season. Smit completes a back row of thumpers assembled to own the collisions on both sides of the ball. Vermeulen captains the team, points to the poles when the Boks win a kickable penalty and demands elite levels of efficiency on defence.

Tank: Akker van der Merwe, Beast Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Jason Jenkins, Roelof Smit
Nyakane is a real risk come scrum time, but he adds value as a ball carrying impact player. Akker is impact personified, and really deserves a look in. Smit gives Rassie the option of bringing on a fetcher if needed, while Jenkins – a real stand out in Super Rugby this year – covers both lock and loose forward.

Zels: Ashley Johnson, Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, Jacques du Plessis, Dan du Preez
Wasps won six of seven successive matches with Johnson at hooker this season. If he’s cleared to play, Johnson has potential value as the third-choice rake in 2019.

Kitshoff is the future, but the Boks get more out of him coming off the bench for Beast than the other way round. Louw is where Nyakane was in 2014 – a shiny new toy with lots of potential, but only five Test caps to his name.

Du Plessis is a versatile, athletic option that doesn’t come with a size compromise (2.01m, 120kgs). With Vermeulen covering No 6, Du Preez wins a tight race to reinforce 7 or 8.

Close but no cigar
Chiliboy Ralepelle, Scarra Ntubeni, Ox Nche, JC Janse van Rensburg, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Marco van Staden, Francois Louw, Dan du Preez.

The backs will be unveiled next week – what are the biggest changes you would make to the two packs chosen?

- Big Debate

Let's chat

  • Jan L

    Looking at the names mentioned by two of the better rugby pundits (to my opinion at least), it is clear that even without some big names absent due to injuries we can field two very competitive packs (one vs Wales and the other vs the Poms) and with some to spare (like the cigarless bunch). On loose head Kitshoff to replace Beast at some point during the game. I would like to start Malherbe to be replaced by Louw, but a lack of game time by Malherbe may probably count against him as well as the demographics of the team. I am glad Ashley Johnson’s name is mentioned, think a lot about him, but the old guard and partnership of Strauss and Du Plessis is an appealing one, though i am also a long standing admirer of The Warthog. With Lood and Etzebeth both ruled out I would prefer Du Toit on 4 and Snyman on 5 with Jaque du Plessis covering both positions from the bench as well as no 8 and the ball carrying flanker. Smith, Jean-Luc and Vermeulen look like a very solid loose forward combo, with Kolisi a more than able replacement. Louw (Flo) surely also to be considered, but the future must also be considered.

    • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

      Thanks Jan. Fully agree re the competitiveness of the packs. For me, it was about who to leave out, not select. Flo would never let a side down, but with Smit and Van Staden playing so well, why not reward the locals? Yep, Malherbe is definitely short on game time, but I think Rassie is going to bring Koch into the mix. I think it’s worth taking a look at the overseas based players now to see how they fit in. And of course, Rassie will be under pressure to move toward the agree 50/50 split by the World Cup …

      • Johan

        Mostert is playing his heart out…

        He is top tackler for SA and 3rd in the all time list
        He has the most opposition line out wins (12) with R Botha and Lood tied in 3rd with 6 each, Snyman has 1.
        He is also second for own line out wins in the competition.

        On defence:

        Botha has conceded second most penalties 17 of anyone in the competition and his tackle efficiency is at 78%, made 9 handling errors and to his credit made pilfered 4 balls.
        Mostert conceded 7 penalties in 1 more game, is tackling at 82% made only 2 handling errors, but Mostert has so far not made a pilfer.
        Snyman condeded 5 penalties in 2 less games, is tackling at 80% made 4 handling errors and also has 0 pilfers

        Snyman averages 6.9 tackles per match, Botha 8.8 and Mostert 11.9

        On attack:
        Mostert had 94 Runs 507 meters made, made 3 line breaks, 1 line break assist and 21 tackle busts.
        Botha had 43 Runs 176 meters made, made 1 line break, 2 line break assists and 5 tackle busts.
        Snyman had 52 runs 288 meters made, made 2 line breaks, 4 line break assists and 12 table busts.

        Why is he the “safe” option?

        (btw. all stats are from Fox, as the stats option is gone here)

        • Rick

          Thank you very much Johan. My man!. So it is Du Toit and Mostert.

      • Jan L

        Thanks Tank, yip I forgot about Koch. Tell me Tank, with the Wales test outside the window period, do you reckon we will see more overseas based players in the English tests than the Wales test? I reckon the guys on the fringes standing a better chance to make the side against the Welsh.

  • Abrie

    1 Tendai Mtwarira
    2 Bismarck du Plessis
    3 Vincent Koch
    4 Eben Etzebeth if fit
    5 Pieter-Steph du Toit
    6 Siya Kolisi
    7 Duane Vermeulen
    8 Warren Whiteley if fit

    16 Adriaan Strauss
    17 Steven Kitshoff
    18 Wilco Louw
    19 Franco Mostert/RG Snyman
    20 Jean-Luc du Preez

    • Tank Lanning Tank Lanning

      Nice, but we went with the guys who are available now. Even if EE and WW pull a rabbit out of a hat and are suddenly fit, I am not sure the Boks (or the 2 players) should be risking it

  • Anton

    1 Beast
    2 Bismarck
    3 Louw
    4 Botha
    5 Du Toit
    6 Kolisi (c)
    7 Du Preez
    8 Warren W / Vermeulen

    16 Akker
    17 Trevor
    18 Kitshoff
    19 Roelof
    20 Mostert

  • Prevyn

    For the Wales game:
    1 Tendai Mtwarira
    2 Andriaan Strauss
    3 Trevor Nyakane
    4 RG Snyman
    5 Franco Mostert
    6 Roelof Smit
    7 JL du Preez
    8 Siya Kolisi

    16 Akker van der Merwe
    17 Steven Kitshoff
    18 Wilco Louw
    19 Jason Jenkins
    20 Dan du Preez

    For the first England game
    1 Tendai Mtwarira
    2 Bismarck du Plessis
    3 Wilco Louw
    4 RG Snyman
    5 Pieter-Steph du Toit
    6 Siya Kolisi
    7 JL du Preez
    8 Duane Vermeulen

    16 Akker van der Merwe
    17 Steven Kitshoff
    18 Trevor Nyakane/Vincent Koch
    19 Jason Jenkins
    20 Roelof Smit

  • Martin

    Beast, akker koch, rg, psdt, smit, du preez, vermeulen,
    Bench: bismark, kitshoff, nyakane, jenkins, kolisi

    Back up:
    Ox, bongi/scarra/samuels/marais/strauss/basically any one,
    louw, mostert, van staden.

  • Johan Venter

    Packs look good however I think a player like Akker will unsettle the poms with his ball carrying abillities and strauss is brilliant since mitchell start with strauss the pack is much more settled than the time he has playing from the bench .The frontrow would need a Kitshoff and Nyakane / Wilco . I personnaly favors a player like Ox Nche . its a pity so many locks is injured but Botha/ Snyman/ du Toit could be the lock pairing with mostert an outsider . There is a lot of possibilities in the loose trio with Van Staden / Smit and du preez twins as well as kolisi could be good in any pack . Local and youth performers must be rewarded but should happen in balance of combinations . We need to pick black players also and there are certainly very good players . Too many to old players might burst the bok bubble come world cup time so Rassie should pick a nice blend of youth & experience . Come Springbok tests time alot of beast will come to the fore when pulling that bok jersey on very excited about this

  • Werner

    Agree with Tank with all picks, except Beast will start instead off Kitshoff(quotas). Super subs will be Akker, Kotshoff, Trevor, Whiteley/Kwagga…and maybe a flank/lock option who can fetch. Zels is so far off its not even funny.
    4.Ruan(in absence of Eben)
    5.PSdT(maybe as super sub…and start one of many)
    7.Du Preez

  • Nicholas

    Solid choices. It’s probably disrespectful to say Kolisi would only make it because of his race. I feel he cracks a nod because of the athleticism he brings to the position we well as his leadership. The young Nche needs time off the bench to groom him into the world-class number 1 he can be. A PTSD/Mostert combination would not only be physical but fiercely mobile. I feel this coaching staff/leadership group is too reminiscent of the dark days of Coetzee. Strauss, despite his recent form, should be left out on the basis that he’s all too familiar with defeat under the previous regime.

    8) Duane Vermuelen
    7) Jean-Luc Du Preez
    6) Siya Kolisi
    5) Pieter-Steph du Toit
    4) Franco Mostert
    3) Wilco Louw
    2) Bismarck du Plessis
    1) Beast Mtawarira

    16) Chiliboy Ralepelle
    17) Ox Nche
    18) Thomas du Toit
    19) RG Snyman
    20) Daniel du Preez

    • Redge

      Lol seriously no Kitshoff?

  • Kyle

    Once again Franco Mostert being overlooked yet he continues shine even with being messed around to flank. Tough to quantify the work he does off the ball that allows others in the team to shine. Great at calling lineouts and setting up the mauls where Marx and Coetzee get all their tries from.

    With Eben out, would like to see Franco and PSDT starting with Snyman coming from the bench.

    • Blou Bul

      Agree 100%, I like the combination – Mostert to play full game

      • Redge

        Agree he always gives 120%

  • Leo

    Neh! Tank nailed it. A perfect combination of form vs experience; donkeys and ball carriers. Tje only wild card (as stated) is Ruan, but I dont think he’ll let us down. Franco never impressed me THAT much at lock. His work rate is high, but hnever dominates collisions, whether on attack or defence. Lood and Eben out, the cool head of Ruan will suffice. RG can lend spark from the bench above Jenkins though.

    • Johan

      Yeah, most opp line outs wins, more meters made per carry, more tackles made, better tackling rate and more tackle busts than Snyman and Botha combined.

      Clearly not impressive

  • Adam

    1 – Kitschoff
    2 – Akker
    3 – Nyakane
    4 – Snyman
    5 – Peter-Steph
    6 – Kwagga
    7 – Bholi
    8 – Dwayne (captain)

    I know we’re only talking forwards, but I can’t name a forwards pack without a backline, so here goes anyway…

    9 – Faf
    10 – Pollard
    11 – Dyantyi
    12 – De Allende
    13 – Am
    14 – Combrinck
    15 – Gelant

    ….which unless I’m mistaken meets the transformation target without compromise \m/

  • Adam

    …also super chuffed to see a guy like Van Staden getting a well deserved mention, and am sure the likes of Gqoboka and Nkosi will be breaking onto the team sooner rather than later too \m/

  • Blou Bul

    I will not choose Kolisi (passenger this year in SR) or Strauss (although I am a BB supporter)

    1. Beast
    2. Bissie
    3. Koch
    4. Mostert
    5. PSdT
    6. Roelof
    7. JLdP
    8. Thor

    16. Kitshoff
    17. Akker
    18. Wilco Louw
    19. RG
    20. Marco

  • Dean

    Tank’s team is well selected. However, why the uncapped Botha ahead of Mostert? Franco has matured into a very streetwise, versatile player. The no.5 lock is crucial to the functioning of the lineouts.

    Beast / Bismarck / Wilco / PS / Mostert (he would be calling the lineout), Kolisi, Flo (because Kolisi is more a ball carrier than a fetcher / Vermeulen (captain)
    Bench: Akker / Kitshoff / Nyakane / RG / JL du Preez

    I’d play Strauss vs Wales, his experience will be needed among a very inexperienced group.

  • Barry Smith

    A can of worms as ever when a Springbok squad is in the making! A few thoughts. I do not agree with the Kitshof selection, he has by his own standards been “ok” this year! Beast is the obvious choice – he adds huge international experience and an element of leadership, which is a little light at the moment. Back up, on form would be either Trevor Nyakane or Thom Du Toit (yes at 1 not 3) – His work rate around the field is incredible for such a big chap! Frans Malherbe does not deserve a mention on form! Louw should start and then one of the local props or Lourens Adriaanse as back up! There will be 4 hoockers across the two internationals, so a mix of Akker, Chilli, Strauss and Bismarck! I agree with your thoughts Tanks with inclussion of Ruan Botha, but Rassie did not include him in his Sharks invites, so I suspect he is out in the cold – pitty he would help with leadership. Lastly, there is a common thrust for Thor, but I fear people base this on seasons past. He is looking distinctly chubby at the moment and I doubt he will keep pace with the modern game. Dan Du Preez is athletic and on form! Lastly, I would go for a specialist 6 – Smit or Van der Walt, impact Kolisi.

  • Herman Schroder

    This is a pretty pointless exercise in a way. All it has shown that there are so many players mentioned in all positions that no one really stands out as world class like Malcolm Marx has for example. Most of them have shown up and down form all season with a recent example the two ‘wunderkinds’ Wilco Louw and Kitshoff being bossed around by a third choice Chiefs front row. Kolisi has been way below standard and does not merit selection unless it is to satisfy the ‘quota’ brigade which is a travesty in itself. Flashes of brilliance does not a Springbok make.

    Two factors to take into consideration. Firstly apart from Faf de Klerk NO overseas player should be in the mix for Bok selection.Most of them have had their chances over the past four years and have contributed nothing to the Springbok cause..Heyneke’s last two years in charge and Coetzee’s demolition of Bok rugby had most of these golden oldies involved to no obvious benefit. Most of these oldies will be well past their sell by date come next year’s WC anyway so take them out of the equation. Experience is overrated imo, we need to start building for the WC now with fresh skilled players playing balanced expansive rugby.

    Secondly what game plan is going to be employed by Rassie ? I notice that most of the pundits here seem to be favouring that old Springbok fall back solution ‘stampkar,; as a first option despite the fact that it has brought Springbok rugby to it’s knees these past few years. Lose to Wales in our first test in June and we sink to 7th on the world rankings. Totsiens domkrag.

    What must be done is that Rassie must clarify his game plan and pick a group of young players that he can weld into a cohesive team of suitably skilled individuals with the right stuff ie players who have rugby nous and have the necessary skills and very importantly the discipline to take on the world. So if we exclude the oldies and the undisciplined, unskilled individuals who also lack consistency from the numerous names mentioned above there may not be many left for Rassie to work with if truth be told.

    Apart from the Lions at No 2 ( should be 5th in actual terms ) on the overall log the other three Franchises are 9th, 10th and 11th in a 15 team log which is hardly going to be giving Hansen or Eddie Jones any sleepless nights. Are we not fooling ourselves here with all these ‘instant Springboks and old battered hacks from the past ?. Rassie must do what Ackerman and his coaching team did a few years with the Lions and there is enough talent out there to do it. Just start the rebuilding process NOW. Ackerman built that team on skills, togetherness, faith in each other and a never say die attitude and it may take these next four tests to bring on the select few but at least we will have something to work on for the WC next year.

    Final point. We must not repeat the folly of the past four years. Local is lekker and to bring in these overseas ‘stars’ as international ‘guest; players before tests does not make for a conducive rebuilding environment. Bokkie has suffered enough at the hands of the incompetents in the past, Rassie must now ‘seize the day’. Cheers.

    • Dean

      The Stormers are ranked 3rd in Super Rugby this year for scrums won. You are being unfair on the “wunderkinds”. Wilco Louw and Kolisi have started every game so far this year. Kitshoff has played in all with two as a substitute. None of these guys have been given a rest, not even a single match. Fleckie and co, in all their shortcomings are overplaying our best prospects. The Lions did the same with Marx.

      • Herman Schroder

        Dean, I’m not a great believer in stats as a measure of whether a player is made of the right stuff or not. Stats are highly subjective and probably only useful to a coach to help assess the player’s progress or not. A player may be a great scrummager but lacks work rate in the open, or has a poor tackle count or fades when the going gets tough. Scrums won is a collective effort anyway and in this day and age players MUST be multi skilled. The fact that those players have been overplayed by Fleck is maybe indicative of his squad weaknesses that he has been forced to pick them so much, injuries aside. In any case Kolisi hasn’t been on song this year at all and one hesitates to say that he must be included to get the ‘quotas’ right. That should never be the case. I do however agree that Marx was unfortunately overplayed by the Lions a tragedy for both the Lions and Springbok rugby.

    • Rant

      I think you make some valid points. However, you miss the mark a bit in some comments.

      Firstly, saying players like Willie Le Roux is a has been (in England dream team along with Faf) and then saying Coetzee butchered the Boks are counter arguments. Look at the Bulls or England. Both teams were terrible, suddenly they started looking better all because of a different coach. Some players you mention may just be in poor form due to poor coaches. Robbie Fleck is not a good coach, and as such the Stormers players, apart from Pieter Steph, are struggling for consistency. I say, with an astute coach we could yet see these players at full potential.

      Secondly, picking an all young team, and your opinion that experience means nothing, are absurd. In any professional environment, the more experienced candidate is preferred. It is a fact that World Cups are won by the most experienced and balanced teams. To win or even be competitive in the World Cup we need the calm experience and exuberance of youth. Balance the team, and hopefully Erasmus can get these guys motivated and playing a good brand of rugby. Furthermore, to rebuild or build a good team, we need those experienced old foxes to come in and give the wisdom to the young exciting players. That is what happened at the Lions. Carlos Spencer, Ackermann, Mitch and co. developed these guys around a solid base and they are reaping the rewards. They aren’t a team full of kids, but an experienced bunch with a few exciting youngsters thrown in.

      Finally, you mention using only local based players…is that not what Coetzee did? And where did that get him? Facts need to be just that, facts. The 30 cap rule came in under Coetzee, he used loads of average locals and suffered the consequences. It is a big world made small by technology. Embrace it and have a thriving global team, or remain in the past and shrink into obscurity. Rumour has it that Rassie is using an app to connect all the players in the wider squad wherever they are in the world to the same training ideas and concepts as well as fitness metrics and requirements. This is the greatest bit of innovation he can have in my opinion. And I really hope he is hugely successful.

      • Herman Schroder

        Rant, thanks for the response. Firstly I was always a Willie fan believe me but he was destroyed by Heyneke Meyer who like Coetzee forced players to play a game that was contra to their most valuable skills. Coetzee did the same with the Lions players that he used especially Jantjies. In 2016 if Coetzee had started with the bulk of the highly successful Lions outfit we could have been far better off than we are now. Willie has had his time at international level which I’m sure you agree is a good step above Viva Premiership.

        Secondly I still maintain that experience is overrated especially when the experienced players was schooled in the domkrag era. Heyneke took a tribe of golden oldies to the WC and Japan soon sorted that lot out. The only reason he finished with a bronze medal is the easy pool and results in other games that were referee influenced that squeked them through. Experience counted for nought with something like 900 caps in some games. But I agree the problems are poor coaching related. Remember also the Lions were born out of a bunch of newbies, refugees and discards but were coached by a coaching team well ahead of it’s time especially in the SA context. Remember my point was that the next four tests should be used as a building phase and there is enough talent including some experience to do that. Calling up the golden oldies just before a test match won’t cut it.

        Your third paragraph also misses the mark. Coetzee couldn’t coach a flea to jump. Every player deteriorated under his watch and you can’t tell me that the Lions players weren’t every bit as good as their NZ counterparts in both 2016 and 2017. Coetzee’s game plan was non existent so his test results had nothing to do with ‘average newbies’. What he had was a mix of domkrag geriatrics and a solid bunch of newbies playing expansive rugby that were forced to play geriatric rugby and the results were there for all to see.

        In closing the jury is still out with Rassie. Fundamental to me would be whether he picks up on the Lions and Bulls template or goes the domkrag route. If he takes the latter then we are back where we started in 2014 before the demise of the Springbok jersey started in earnest. The team he picks will probably confirm which way the cookie will crumble. I do however hope he does the right thing so that the Bok jersey can rise from the ashes. Cheers.

      • Nick

        Robbie fleck not a good coach or Robbie fleck is a great coach ?
        Based on what ? What experiences do you have under him or have you had a personal chat with him in some sorts that led you to that conclusion?

        He could be a great coach at training ,but he might have under par in people management skills or vice versa ,but we will never know ,keep in mind that a winning coach is also based on timing !!!!
        Please research every coach that now is a winning coach ,their history…you will be surprised what you will find .

  • Francois

    Eventhough I agree mostly with the possible teams. I just can’t get my head around Tank’s comment: ‘The Boks simply cannot pick an all white pack.’ Before this statement he explained at length that he probably wouldn’t have gone for Kolisi if it wasn’t for the colour of his skin because he’d prefer an out and out fetcher like Roelof Smit.
    This just goes to show that even scribes are pushing political agenda. Don’t get me wrong. I like Kolisi a lot and think he is a great player and I wouldn’t mind a bok team consisting 100% of players of colour if these players were there on merit. What Tank is actually saying is, if somebody like Smit were black he would’ve been in his team. Because ‘the balance would be perfect’
    Tank next time you pick a team. Please just be honest and pick the team on merit and not on what political parties require. If you believe somebody like Kolisi is the best. Well great. Pick him then. But don’t validate his inclusion because of political agendas

    • Nick

      Well said ,and very good point .

  • Jan M

    I agree with most But for the life of me I can not see how anyone can consider Deallende at 12.

  • Rick

    Contextualising things:

    The Springboks are playing 1 test against Wales, and a week later commence a 3-test series against England. Now it’s worth noting that all 4 tests are important (beating Wales is important!). There needs to be a mix of talent, form and experience between each test. Therefore, playing some of the strongest players in both the Wales test and first England test makes sense, with all the best Springboks (incl. those that featured against Wales) in the second and third tests against England…From a coach’s perspective I think you would like to give overseas-based players more time to settle (therefore maybe playing against England only – in fact I think the Wales game is outside the international window anyway) and have in-form players coming in hot from SR playing against Wales (with a week’s rest). You want to completely destroy Wales. Objective 1 – DONE. 1st test against England may be some Int experience plus best SR players.

    Executing things:

    So what would Wales starting team look like? I dont know :) But I think being realistic is important. Perhaps following a few principles/criteria may help. These, amongst others, may be:
    1. Meeting/transitioning toward transformation targets (this is real and needs to be taken continouosly worked on)
    2. Players must have had enough game-time to make the team and in form
    3. There must be enough international experience esp. vs england
    4. Leadership
    5. Workable combinations (there are already some quick wins)

    • Rick

      Applying these criteria, possible Wales team:

      1. Nyakane (the man plays both sides, and originally a loose-head)
      2. Akker vd Merwe (Wales will have their hands full)
      3. Dreyer (had a rough 2017 season but looks really good at the moment)
      4. RG Snyman (upcoming)
      5. R. Botha / Schickerling (both doing well)
      6. Kwagga Smith (fetcher, ball carrier, tackle machine – 31 tackle breaks, 587 running meters, 119 tackles, 11 turnovers in 11 games – he outperforms Marx on every of these stats by miles. Lets not even mention any other SA’can. Will play F. Louw vs England, leadership and experience)
      7. J. du Preez
      8. D. du Preeze
      9. Duvenhage (he is quite good with all the basics)
      10. Pollard (only because Jantjies together with de Klerk in the 1st Eng test is an important combination. I will also go with R. du Preez as the Sharks back-line synergy will be complete with his play-making abilities and high kicking conversion rates)
      11. Mapimpi / Tembwe / Dyanti (all wingers are currently statistically very even, would prob try Mapimpi because of his explosive power)
      12. Esterhuizen (combo with Am)
      13. Am
      14. Nkosi (there are not many players competing really for 14 jersey, most competition is only 11)
      15. Coetzee (steady option – Bosch can back-up as 10 and 15. Gelant needs to be unleashed onto England)

      • Rick

        So what would England look like:

        1. Beast (98 caps – Kitshoff bench)
        2. Bismarck (79 caps – A. vd Merwe bench)
        3. Wilco Louw (new talent, in form – Nyakane bench)
        4. P. du Toit (in form, played 4 before becoming a 5)
        5. Mostert (check out Johan’s stats above, a no brainer)
        6. F. Louw (57 caps – leadership & experience, can only bench one flank, Kwagga or J du Preez)
        7. Kolisi (experience, good ball carier, he’s stats looks healthy)
        8. Vermeulen (class, leadership – Louw can back-up as 8)
        9. This is HARD. Want to just say Pienaar because we just don’t have a solid 9. Sorry but de Klerk is still wet behind the ears a year out from the WC – needs more time off the bench)
        10. I change my mind. No Jantjies. He had enough chances. Pollard starts and Willemse backs-up – might as well get on with it). Pollard has also been an epic combo with de Allende and Kriel.
        11. Mapimpi (Dyanti or Tembwe following closely – can’t see Rhule stopping Anthony Watson or Mike Brown running in that outside channel)
        12. de Allende (combo with Kriel 2015 WC and when we beat All Blacks, good form)
        13. Kriel (combo, good form)
        14. Willie le Roux (experience, in form)
        15. Gelant (backline utility back for bench might be Am, plays 13 and

        • Johan

          Looks good, except I’ll play Jantjies and Faf.

          Faf has improved both accuracy and base kicking while at Sale and will also be more familiar with English player/tactics. Also his quick service with Jantjies’s attacking ability will be lethal.

          Also Jantjies had his chances under Toetie, and we can all agree, no player played well under his so-called “gameplan”.

          Finally I wouldn’t play Willie out of position, Leyds has had a good year so far in a under performing team

  • Mike

    Tank…..your comment about how the Boks of 2018 cannot have an all white pack is a problem. I am a huge Springboks fan from the U. S. and cannot fathom the racism in sports that is simply accepted in South Africa. I am not pointing fingers, America has its issues as well, but politics has no business meddling in sports. What happened to fielding the best team regardless of skin color? If you are not the best then you don’t play, pretty simple. Transformation is a problem. Your best players, if they are white, will be running to Europe to play for other countries where they will be appreciated for their skills and not their race.

    I love rugby and I love watching the Boks but if they continue to lose form and the best players are not playing because of skin color then the future is bleak and the Boks will be relegated to a 2nd tier rugby nation. It is sad.

    With that being said…. Vermeulen for captain. Let’s hope the Boks can turn it around in 2018.

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