Snyman won’t play for SA

Shaun Goosen

There’s no space for RG Snyman at Springbok level, and you just can’t help but feel for the big guy.

Consider the following: the 2.06m behemoth is in the form of his life and, in tandem with fellow Bulls lock Lood de Jager, has lit up the Super Rugby scene in 2018. Indeed, the 23-year-old, who represented the Springboks against the Barbarians in 2016, has a new lease on life under head coach John Mitchell.

His rampaging runs, audacious offloads and bullish defence have led many to call for his inclusion in the Bok setup this year, and who can blame them?

But perhaps the question that needs to be asked is, “at whose expense would Snyman be included?”

At times it appears that South Africa has enough international-quality locks to rival the country’s famous loose-forward stocks. Even if Franco Mostert of the Lions does jettison off to join Johan Ackermann at Gloucester, such names as Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and De Jager are all placed higher on the Bok pecking order than young Snyman.

At this stage, the Bok Test against Wales in Washington looks set to go ahead. Rassie Erasmus would do well to travel to the States with a second-string side in tow, thus affording his front-runners enough R&R ahead of their all-important Test series against England.

Despite having missed out through injury all season, Etzebeth, if fit, remains undroppable. Alongside Malcolm Marx, he is arguably the greatest player in the country. The likes of Du Toit, De Jager and Mostert are expected to vie for the two remaining slots in the Bok matchday 23, and therein lies the problem for Snyman.

Unless injury or a dip in form befalls one of the aforementioned, it is highly unlikely that Snyman will earn more than a handful of Bok Test caps in his career. Sure, he may get the odd opportunity against minnow nations or in one-off Tests (read: the upcoming clash versus the Welsh), but his route to the very top remains blocked. And the same could be said of other promising young locks such as Jason Jenkins, JD Schickerling and Salmaan Moerat.

In the past, we have seen capable local players of all positions fail to make the cut at international level; Derek Minnie, Jacques Botes, Lappies Labuschagne, Deon Fourie and Craig Burden to name but a few. It’s not that they weren’t good enough to play for the Boks, it’s just that they were being kept out by superior players.

There is only enough room for 23 in a matchday squad and Snyman is unlikely to get a proper look-in at international level as things stand.

South Africa’s young rugby talent leak to overseas clubs is inevitable as emerging stars who can’t break into the national team choose instead to head abroad. Former SA-U20 lock duo Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse are prime examples, and they’re now tearing it up in the south of France for Montpellier and earning mega-cash at the same time.

It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Snyman follow in their footsteps because, at the very pinnacle of international sport, there is no place for sentiment and, in spite of how well he may be playing, there’s no room at the Boks for Snyman.

Follow Shaun on Twitter: @ShaunGoosie

FRESH TAKE is an initiative to identify, feature and develop talented rugby writers who are not yet part of the mainstream media.

If that sounds like you, send us a sample of a story you’d like to write to info@alloutrugby.com

- Shaun Goosen

Let's chat

  • Marius Louw

    Shaun Goosen, jy praat nou die grootste nonsens wat ek in ‘n baie lang tyd gehoor het.

  • Dean

    This article is rubbish. What’s the point of it? There’s so much rugby being played and more in future with Super Rugby expanding to possibly 20 teams. Squad sizes will increase and injuries are more frequent than ever. Redelinghuys was the out and out tighthead now he’s retired. Things can change very quickly. RG can be accommodated with PS and Franco able to play blindside flank.

  • Ricky

    I tend to agree with this article, but then again what happened to picking players who are in-form and the best in their respective positions… That is what the NZ national team does so well. Class can’t be replaced, but an in-form player is much more valuable than a world class player just coming back from injury. I think Rassie should have a very clear idea of what his best 23 should be for each test against the English. This is my personal best Matchday 23 for the first test against England. If the players are all fit and ready to go.

    1. Beast 2. Malcolm Marx 3. Trevor Nyakane 4. Lood de Jager 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit 6. Siya Kolisi 7. Jean-Luc du Preez 8. Warren Whiteley/Dan du Preez 9. Faf de Klerk 10. Handre Pollard 11. Sbu Nkosi 12. Frans Steyn 13. Lukhanyo Am 14. Mapimpi 15. Pat Lambie

    16. Adriaan Strauss 17. Steven Kitshoff 18. Wilco Louw 19. Eben Etzebeth 20. Kwagga Smith 21. Cobus Reinach 22. Damien Willemse 23. Ruan Combrinck

    • Joseph Dodge

      Kolisi is completely out of form. Only way he gets picked is to make up a quota. Back to his best and it would be a different story.

    • John Comyn

      Who knows what Rassie is thinking. The props are decided the only difference is who starts and who is on the bench. If Marx is out then Bongi will come in off the bench. He is in training & has a few games under his belt before the tests. Eben (also in training as we speak) will start at 4 if ready. I reckon all the locks in contention including RG won’t let the side down. Not so sure about your 11 to 15. Esterhuizen, De Allende must be in with a shout. Strong rumour floating around that Rassie is talking to Willie Le Roux. The Bulls scrummie on Saturday was excellent considering the pressure he was taking. Not sure what his name is. Warner?

    • Herman Schroder

      Hi Rick, Not a Sharks fan by any chance are you ? A few pointers on your selections. Malcolm Marx looks like history now regrettably so it looks like a return for Strauss, oh boy. He is playing well in SR but his international form has been very poor these past few years. I’m not a great believer in bringing ‘retired’ players back, there is always a good reason they called it a day.

      If you are picking form then Siya Kolisi should not be first choice on the flank. I know we have this ridiculous quota thing to contend with but he is simply not up to scratch. Even more troubling is his possible captaincy. Under his watch the Stormers have been pretty awful most of the time and he has ‘disappeared’ time and time again this year.

      I’m glad to see Rassie is considering Faf de Klerk. Player of the year for Wasps in the Aviva Championship recently. However if you play Faf then you should be picking Jantjies and in addition play expansive high paced rugby. If you are going to play safety first ‘domkrag’ rubbish then pick the Pollards and the Reinach’s of this world. But just remember all the trophies these days are won by high try scoring teams, it’s the modern game. Look how the Sharks have responded to this fast paced game, that is the way the Lions have always played and it shows it can be done by the other Franchises. Of course the Sharks still need consistency but that will come in time.

      Finally I am not in favour of retreading the Bok failures of the past. Frans Steyn to me remains a carthorse and we have many centres at home here who can handle the modern job far more competently. Lambie remains an enigma but I feel he has passed his international sell by date. No place for Galant in your team ?? Nkosi has quite a bit of competition in the other Franchises some of whom offer a bit more. Djantji springs to mind. I love Combrink ( Lions lol ) but he will need to up his game at the moment, he is not match fit I suspect but he has the talent no doubt. Damien Willemse is not ready for international rugby. A talent he may be but in the white hot cauldron of test rugby he will be found wanting so bring him on slowly. If you play the two Du Preez brothers and Kolisi you have too much of the same old in the loosies. The modern game requires effective fetchers and none of these three can do the job effectively especially now with the loss of Marx.

      Sorry to question your selections my friend but thought I would give you some food for thought. Cheers.

      • Dr Hoffman

        Faf is player of the year at the Sale Sharks, not Wasps.

  • Herman Schroder

    The problem at the moment is that all the teams are way to inconsistent and because of that most players are not producing top class international quality rugby week in and week out. In addition to that injuries will mount as SR intensifies. Malcolm Marx is now a prime example. If as suspected he has a groin issue he could be out for months. Look what happened with Warren Whiteley.

    In yesterday’s north / south clash Pollard, who had been playing well recently , was practically non existent behind a losing pack and was unable to create anything from the scraps the Bulls did get. Jantjies had similar problems when he played for the Boks under Coetzee but was branded as not having big match temperament, despite the fact that he had guided the Lions to two SR finals these last two years.

    Although the Lions appear to be stumbling at the moment they have not crumbled like some of our teams this year. Losing by two points to the Blues, six points to SR log leaders the Crusaders and by nine points yesterday to tournament favourites the Hurricanes, which could easily have been only two points if not for that wayward pass in the last minute. So facing these teams will hold no fear for the Lions in the playoffs as they proved in 2016 and 2017 when they won all their playoff matches against NZ sides. Lost two finals yes but for last years knee jerk reaction by Jackass Peyper in awarding a red card, I am almost positive they would have clinched the final. But that’s water under the bridge now.

    AS for bonus points. The Lions are often criticized for their high paced rugby but just look how their 7 bonus points has assisted in offsetting their losses this year. The Jaguares have won the same amount of games but are 7 points adrift of the Lions due to that very fact. It also served them very well in 2016 / 7 in getting to the finals. The Stormers and the other teams suffer from the same problem but It is however pleasing to see our other Franchises making a fist of it this year. Even the NZ panel show ‘The Breakdown’ has commented on the resurgence and that was before the Sharks pasting of the Highlanders yesterday.

    As I see it the Lions need only win their remaining three local derbies to clinch a second spot on the overall table due to the ridiculous ‘conference’ system and thereby get a home semi assuming they win their quarter final. An away trip to the Hurricanes or Crusaders however appears on the cards for the final. Third time lucky ?? Only time will tell. Cheers.

    • Dean

      They lost to the Crusaders at home and were outplayed away to the Hurricanes. It will take a miracle for a South African franchise to make the final this year. All New Zealand final this year.

  • Cobus Brits

    Never really impressed with Etzebeths running game. Great upper body strenght but weakish legs. Gets tackled to the ground easily.
    This is where Snyman is much stronger.

    • Dr Hoffman

      Agree, yet according to the guy who wrote this”article” Eben is undroppable even though he hasnt played any games the whole year, what garbage! This is precisely the problem, picking players on reputation rather than form. Only in SA, and we continue to do it. Then u have “journalists” who write this garbage.

  • Jan L

    I think it is very negative putting these kind if scenarios to a player. We know what can happen, one injury, sometimes two or three in the same position, and you are a capped Springbok, play well in your 2nd or 3rd game and you may become “undroppable” ever more so if that team win and perform well, who want to change a winning combo. It then will be up to the recoverees to play themselves back into contention or the “undroppable” to start performing poorly.

  • Chris Mouton

    Sorry to say, but Eben shouldn’t play for the Springboks until he’s match fit again. This article is rubbish! Snyman, De Jager and Du Toit are the 3 best locks in SA right now. It will be idiotic not to choose them. Mostert is struggling with his form. I see no reason why Snyman won’t be chosen. And this is coming from a Shark!

    • Rant

      “And this is coming from a Shark!” is precisely the problem with South African rugby. Provincialism is causing blinkered bias all across SA. Springboks first will never happen at any level as the supporters are Provincial first.

      For the Boks to do well we need all our provinces playing top quality rugby with the best coaches possible. And that’s the bottom line!

Comments are closed.