Take these five for a Test drive

Benedict Chanakira

With just three Currie Cup matches to go, here’s a look at five players who have used the domestic championship to prove they’re capable of boosting the Springboks’ year-end tour to Europe in November.

Warrick Gelant has been sensational this season. The Blue Bulls fullback has continued to develop his skill-set, adding lethal grubbers in behind the defence to great effect, while his playmaking ability and try-scoring exploits made him stand out among his Curie Cup peers.

Though defence and kicking are areas he can work on, Gelant has earned the right to challenge Andries Coetzee, and his versatility makes him a candidate to line up on the wing if needed.

The most underrated player in the Currie Cup, Griquas centre Tertius Kruger racked up impressive numbers in tackle turnovers, tries scored and linebreaks, not to mention impressive levels of ball-handling, side-stepping and passing.

Deceptively strong, Kruger stripped the ball off countless forwards while making dominant tackles. In what was a breakout season, his vision and ability to break the line made Kruger a threat to defences as he looked to stake a claim as the premier inside centre in the country.

JD Schickerling is a warrior. Tipping the scales at 113kg and standing 2.03m tall, the towering Western Province lock forward has been brilliant in all facets of play. It isn’t just his physicality and athletic strengths that separate him from his counterparts but his leadership and ability to change the game with dominant hits. He is a lineout general that has not only steered the Cape Town side’s lineout but also managed to pinch opposition throws.

Makazole Mapimpi is a try-scoring machine. The man knows his way to the try-line and has the heart of a lion. Unofficially, Mapimpi has the best post-try celebration in the southern hemisphere!

A good tackler and an under-appreciated defender, Mapimpi has proven himself worthy of a spot in the Springbok squad.  Though he doesn’t kick often, when he does, the ball travels. He averages 28 metres per kick, close to All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett’s average of 32 metres per kick.

Mapimpi has scored 23 tries in 2017 made up of five in the PRO14, seven in the Currie Cup and 11 in Super Rugby.

Cyle Brink deserves higher honours. Tasked with wearing the No 6 and No 7 jerseys for the Lions this season, he has not disappointed. Brink matches powerful ball-carrying with strong defence. A deep understanding of the game means Brink knows when to take up the ball and when to offload and he has been pivotal to the Lions’ continued success.

A few European clubs have appreciated his qualities and there are rumours that his name appears on a few shopping lists. He’ll be hoping that his good performances haven’t gone unnoticed by the Bok coach.

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- Benedict Chanakira

Let's chat

  • Softinthemiddle

    Warrick Gelant can fit into any Bok team. Cool, calm and with an excellent eye for a gap makes him my newbie of choice for the end of year tour!

  • francois williams

    Ox Nche? Paul Schoeman, Henco Venter?

  • Sharky

    Torsten van Jaarsveld (the Cheetahs hooker) has also stood out for me! He’s not a Marx, but I would rather have him on the bench than our current Bok backups.

    • PJ

      He’s a Namibian international…

  • Steve

    I honestly think all we need is for the current team to stay together for longer – but with these and a few other surely obvious changes. Why Rohan Janse van Rensburg, the now-injured for 6 months Combrink, and Lukanyo Am aren’t there is a complete mystery. They’re all big, fast, have vision, pass well, tackle well, compete on the ground – everything our back line needs so desperately to compliment our forwards who are now starting to really put it together with an incredible mix of our traditional strengths and ‘NZ rugby’ if Newlands is anything to go by. And Nkosi and Nche should also surely be there now, with only 2 years till the next World Cup. These selections would give us what we need to compete for no.1 again AND satisfy the politicians. What more could we possibly ask for???

  • Barry Smith

    Fringe players were identified through the South African A side, but no use of these players has been used in the Springboks. What a waste of resource! Most will recall those that shone; Gallant, Ox Nche, Ruan Botha, Thomas Du Toit, Venter, Chris Cloete!

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