Exchange one Bok for one SA A player

If you could call-up one player from the SA A squad, who would it be, and who would they replace? Tank Lanning and Zelím Nel mull it over.

Tank: Wilco Louw, Chris Cloete, Thomas du Toit and Ruan Combrinck – in that order – are to my mind the guys most unlucky not to make the latest Bok squad.

Especially given that Coenie Oosthuzen is in the squad as the third tighthead prop, this while Ruan Dreyer remains untested at this level and Frans Malherbe struggles for form. It’s a ridiculous call.

The other three, quite clearly the stand out players in their positions during Super Rugby, probably miss out due to transformation requirements.

With Warren Whiteley named as skipper (which I like a lot), the back-in-favour, and hopefully fully-fit, Duane Vermeulen will no doubt play 7, something else I like. But what a pity to see this trio not balanced perfectly with Cloete as the out-and-out fetcher.

But none would be my choice of upgrade …

It’s not the worst Bok squad ever assembled, and I think the XV selected will be OK. Especially up front. But it’s seriously green out back, and I worry about the bench.

I worry most about Elton Jantjies’ ability at the highest level. Yes he has again been good at Super Rugby level, but wasn’t that the case last year? I just do not think he can cut the mustard in the space-curtailed Test environment, especially under Allister Coetzee.

One presumes that Francois Steyn is in as flyhalf cover, but I would have that rocket launcher of a boot at the back, instead giving Kings pivot Lionel Cronje a shot at green. Relaxed, confident, and experienced, he is playing the kind of game that will take the pressure off a young backline.

Zelím: I’d pick Andisa Ntsila ahead of Oupa Mohoje.

For my money, Mohoje, like Warren Whiteley, is a player who would have far more credibility had he originally been designated as a big back rather than an athletic forward. Mohoje has the chassis and the speed to be a powerful finisher; he’s not in his element when the game gets narrow or slow.

Ntsila also enjoys linking up with the backs, but when the situation requires it, he looks comfortable and controlled in coping with the rough stuff.

The Kings loose forward is Super Rugby’s most prolific tackler (134 tackles) at a 94% completion rate compared to Mohoje’s 86%.

While that will have something to do with the Cheetahs’ scattershot attack, Ntsila, who plays for a team that has made the fewest carries this season, averages more metres-per-run (7.6m versus Mohoje’s 6.1m) and has broken the line 8 times on 80 carries (Mohoje has 2 linebreaks from 69 carries).

Mohoje is 12cm taller than Ntsila, but if Allister Coetzee was angling for lineout options, all of Jannes Kirsten, Ruan Ackermann, Philip van der Walt and Jean-Luc du Preez offer more value in general play.


- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Gary Laight

    Lionel Cronje for Elton Jantjies would be my first change. As good as Elton has been he just hasn’t been able to make the step up to Test level. Lionel has had a great season & should be rewarded for that!

  • Johan

    My choice would be: Anybody for Paige, the guy has had a horrible season, worst rated player week in an week out…

    @Gary: Elton has had a magnificent season in super rugby, and you can clearly see he has worked on the issues he had last year, his goal kicking has improved from 72.4% (71 out of 98) to 83.3% (50 out of 60) this year in super rugby. His distance kicking has also improved compared to last year. His prowess on attack has also never been in doubt. No one deserves his shot more. Hopefully the coach gives him a bit more leeway to be creative.

    @Tank: Ruan has had a way better super rugby season than Wilco, and he is skilled with ball in had a lot more than Wilco. I would maybe have tried Chris, but Jaco has been the best loosie in SA for a few years now and has a few games experience

    @Zelím Warren is the best a great nr 8 for running rugby, he is fast, smart and always there to support/clean. He shouldn’t be used for crash balls, you have 2 props, a hooker, locks and a nr 7 flanker that can be used to crash. One more isn’t necessary… But Warren is amazing at linking, supporting, running into the gap and creating space

  • katman

    Lionel Mapoe is not only the form outside centre, but also the Bok incumbent. How he didn’t make the squad is completely baffling. I like the look of Am, but he is nowhere near Mapoe’s level yet. So that would be my first switch. After that, Combrinck for Rhule.

    • Darren

      I agree but would first swap Rhule, his defence is terrible, a basic requirement to survive in test matches. I am worried about our back three, Skosan deserves an opportunity but with Rhule on the other wing we have green wings without much defensive clout. I would love to see Combrink and Skosaan start. I’m also surprised at Mapoe’s exclusion but I do think AM has something special about him

  • leeupoot

    For me the time bomb is De Allende. What on earth does AC have in mind with him other than historic loyalty? He is one player that can singlehandedly destroy AC’s new plan to play modern, attacking rugby. De Allende plays way too deep and has the passing skills of a Bulletjie rugby wannaby. Regardless of how fast and flat Jantjies & kie distribute the ball, it will all end when it reaches DDA. Game over. I hope that AC will recognise this poor component in his selection. This will determine if AC is still around in a green jacket after the French series. Time will tell…

  • Ron

    Raymond Rhule is just such a puzzling pick; I suppose AC didn’t want to tab Combrinck given the long lay-off, but with his test performances last year, and his dazzling play against the Bulls this should have been easy. If there were concerns re: transformation, Mapimpi would be a better pick than Rhule on form; RR’s defensive hiccups have been laid bare this season. With RR & Leyds being ostensible replacements for Bok greats JPP/BH, the Saffa sides defensive frailty on the wings in Super Rugby will now be evident at test level. Heck, I even think Nkosi would have been a better pick than Rhule, Hopefully, I eat my words!

  • Max

    Im confuse now. The players you want to drop are players playing brilliant rugby in bad teams. Jantjies drives the Lions. Before Coach JA Jantjies played good rugby in a bad team and thats why his the only surviver. Like these players, give the coach a fair chance. Like a term every other coach had. Come on guys we trying to build a team and current players using SA Rugby to get notice abroad doesnt make it any easier on the coach and kie

  • Vaughn

    Why you so called learnred writers of rugby cant get it right. Kriel has played a fetching role for the lions. BUT he also has the help of marx as a fetcher as well. He has made quite a few turn overs at vital times at the lions. So you will have a fetcher like cloete and marx fighting over the same ball all the time. Each one of the tight five should be able to turn over ball when they get there at the right time.
    The second thing is people should get off Jantjies back. How is he supposed to grow and be confident if everybody is breaking him down. AC should leave him to play what is in front of him. He is a confidence player let him play. If you look at the lions players picked around him one can see that all the players he trusts and understands his thinking are there.
    Cream always rises to the top so I am sure Jantjies will rise.
    Rather pick on guys like Rule and Malherbe that should not be there.

    • Darren

      Marx and Kriel would often not arrive at the pill at the same time, in fact most times not. Off all set pieces they have different roles and would not arrive at a breakdown at the same time.

    • Johan

      Agreed! Why don’t you pick on players that can’t even make it in Super Rugby? How they got picked for the Springboks is beyond me…

      Frans Malherbe
      Oupa Mohoje
      Coenie Oosthuizen
      Chiliboy Ralepelle
      Lood de Jager
      Damian de Allende
      Rudy Paige

  • Kyle

    Definitely Jean luc du Preez for Mahoje. Jean luc has been in rampaging form this season

Comments are closed.