Watch out Eben!

Ludumo Nkabi

When the BBC Sports commentator at Murrayfield described RG Snyman as an “enormous creature”, Twitter was abuzz with comments. It not only spoke to Snyman’s hulking physique, but also of his growing influence in the Bok jersey over the course of the 2018 season.

The towering lock produced another accomplished performance during 60 minutes against Scotland last Saturday in what was his 11th Test, this after having made an impact off the bench in the victory against France in Paris. It was the 23-year-old’s first start for the Boks since the June series against England and we were reminded that, in the absence of Eben Etzebeth, he is an able replacement, and perhaps a challenger for the No4 jersey.

Etzebeth has been the unrivalled first choice enforcer for the Springboks since his debut season in 2012. Many have tried to supplant the 2.04m and 118kg second row forward, but to no avail as he has consistently been one of the best locks in the world during that period. But the Stormers powerhouse has missed most of this season through injury and has looked rusty on his return, far from his lofty standards.

Snyman offers something different to Etzebeth’s all-power game. While he is no slouch in the trenches, it is his all-round play that has seen him do well for the Springboks, with superior athleticism ensuring he gets around the park quicker than the Stormers hardman.

Proficient at running off the shoulder of the ball carrier in broken play, there was no better evidence of Snyman’s ability than in the build-up to the Boks’ first try against Scotland. The 2.06m forward received a pass from scrumhalf Embrose Papier and deftly offloaded to Steven Kitshoff, sparking Jesse Kriel’s 12th Test try.

This brings me to the next part of his game that is impressive – RG has good ball skills and as most rugby spectators will attest to, this is one of the aspects that currently sets Brodie Rettalick apart as the finest lock in the world, if not the finest ever.

Snyman’s all-round skills, athleticism and physicality are as close as the Boks can get to fieldinga Rettalick and the prospect of having a player whose game so closely resembles that of the standout All Blacks lock must excite Erasmus as he seeks to elevate the Boks to superpower status again.

It is for this reason that Snyman will not only be an option in Etzebeth’s absence, but – as shown by the team chosen to face Wales in Cardiff – he will soon begin to push the 74-Test veteran for playing time.

Despite the Boks preparing to challenge a Wales outfit that is on an eight-game winning streak, Erasmus has chosen to retain Snyman in the run-on side with battle-hardened Etzebeth on the bench.

With Pieter-Steph du Toit’s steady progress and growth into a blindside flanker, the pathway is open for Snyman to lay challenge to Etzebeth’s status as a mainstay of the Bok pack. He certainly looks the most worthy of the challengers that have come before him.

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- Ludumo Nkabi

Let's chat

  • Chris Mouton

    I will not throw away Etzebeth, but Snyman is very impressive. He has power and speed coupled with some good ball skills. Who can forget the influence him and Lood had during the Bulls vs Hurricances game? They were off-loading and running rampant. I’m not an expert in this matter, but maybe Snyman can become a 5 lock? Having him and Etzebeth playing together and then jumping at 4 and 2 respectively might just be beneficial. I’m not discrediting Mostert, but he moved to Gloucester and might not be available all the time.

    • Sharky

      I totally agree! Snyman and Etzabeth to start with Mostert coming on off hte bench in the last 20 if required.

      • Chris

        Mostert needs to be on field for most of the game ,because of his tackle stats.
        He out-tackles the loosies for most of the games.

    • nezo

      yes Mr Chris that might work

  • nezo

    as for me alone. i fully agree. He showed those skills in the Rugby Championship aswel.

    This is why i believe Boks Supporters are Justified for expecting the Boks to win every game. We keep on producing GREAT players year in year out. its just that the way we choose to play is limiting these players.

    this Reminds me of Juan Smith, Schalk Burger and Dannie Rassouw. Playing in the same Era but Equally Great. one had to loose. you can only have two flankers starting.

  • Tobokani

    RG Snyman is a baller!!! A flyhalf stuck in a lock’s body.

  • John Comyn

    It appears that Rassie agrees with you. Trust me when I say Rassie has has picked his best starting 15. But it’s nice to know we Eben’s coming off the bench

  • boyo

    I rate Eben but I rate RG for a different reason than what the writer does however the writer is not wrong that he possess the skills mentioned.

    To me RG hits more rucks and works more. I don’t think Eben has ever had the workrate to be a true number four.

    • nezo

      that is food for thought Mr Boyo. He does have the work rate though. that guy gives his all everytime he plays. He loves rugby with a passion.

      what makes me think from what you said though is whether his work rate is more on defense, bashing and maybe less effective in the breakdown as a number 4 compared to RG. not that he is not effective but less effective as number 4 compared to RG in ruck time.

      am not agreeing or disagreeing. you have made think. now i will watch for that. if its true then it makes sense to have Eben at 5 and RG at 4

      • Boyo

        You spot on its the breakdown where I don’t see him him hitting and clearing rucks like a bakkies or Ackerman I do think he is really a 5

  • Alberto

    Eben has not been rusty – no idea which games you have been watching – and RG does not have nearly the same ballskills – in fact he did his best to lose the France game with yet another spill of the ball…
    Does he have potential..? Absolutely! But he is nowhere near replacing Eben as first choice…

    • Brahm

      Alberto you seem to watch rugby with a provincial pair of glasses. If you deny RG’s superior ball skills and athletism then the discussion will go nowhere. I am an enormous Etsebeth fan and agree with the other comments here that both of them should be in the starting line up.

  • Bokfan1

    LOVE the picture!!!!

  • Barry

    Though at a glance you would not say so, RG has a more stable disposition than Eben! A number of teams have done their level best to ruffle his feathers, but he just smiles. It’s an important quality. The Belville Bomber on the other hand, has a pretty short fuse which can easily translate into points against. I have not look at their stats for a bit, but my perception is that RG gets through considerably more work. More than happy with this weeks swop around. I don’t really support the concept of moving either to 5, they are specialist 4’s and should be played as such.

  • SweetAz

    Well, I grew up supporting WP so you would think I would be an Etsebeth supporter,–personally, I think he’s overrated. He lacks temperament, a decent engine and athleticism. All qualities essential for a modern lock. I haven’t seen much of RG Snyman but what I have seen I like,—-now if only he would just get a friggin haircut.

    • Barry

      We’ll try not hold the WP thing against you! Everyone makes mistakes. lol

  • Dean Bright

    The 4 locks are pretty much set in stone for the WC with PS du Toit as a blindside. Rassie is truly fortunate to be able to pick a pack that will be able to compete and in some cases, dominate the best. The biggest concern for him is finding 15-16 players of color to fit into a 31 man squad. If you look at who he has chosen so far – Beast, Mbonambi, Nyakane, Kolisi, Notshe, Papier, Jantjies, Willemse, Nkosi, Dyantyi, De Allende, Am and Mapimpi/Kolbe are almost certainties. That leaves him 2 short and that’s when it gets tricky. Then you will find that he would have to include 2 of Qcoboka, Orie, Mapoe, Gelant or Ralepelle. How’s he going to reach that target without leaving out Akker vd Merwe, Jesse Kriel, Esterhuizen, Thomas du Toit, Vincent Koch, Wilco Louw and Schalk Brits.

    • albert Hoffmann

      and yet people still support this blatant RACISM! Boks should be banned!

    • Redge

      Well Brits is a passenger as he never plays. Just select a black player as the 3rd no 2. However, I agree that by not selecting on merit we won’t be contenders at the WC. I will find a spot for Lleyds as well.

    • Barry

      Agreed, but there are a few fringe players that may play their way into the side, after Super Rugby: Leyds, Bosch, Petersen, Skosan, Mvovo and perhaps even Fassi.
      Akker would seems to have a problem, because it seems Britz is someone’s boetie. If he is still in such great form, why is it that we have not seen him in boots? I don’t buy the mentor thing either, Marx is rated one in the world and Mbonombi and VDM not far behind. If we had a scrum half of full back mentor in the ranks I could understand it, but not st hooker!

      • Redge

        Rassie made stupid promises

      • Redge

        Yes agree with Bosch massive potential

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