JOHANNESBURG – The door is wide open for players in the SA ‘A’ side to stake a claim in the Springbok team when they play against the French Barbarians in their two match series next month according to Springbok coach Allister Coetzee.
With already a good smattering of Test experience in Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Trevor Nyakane, Uzair Cassiem, Francois Venter, Jamba Ulengo, Juan de Jongh and Jean-Luc du Preez, the second string Springbok outfit could see a few more names become fully fledged Springboks in the Test series against France if they continue knocking hard at the door of international rugby.
Some of those fringe players included in the team to be coached by Lions coach Johan Ackermann include Southern Kings quartet of Lionel Cronje, Andisa Ntsila, Makazole Mapimpi and Chris Cloete who have enjoyed an outstanding Super Rugby campaign with their franchise while there has been reward for the hard toil from players coming from struggling franchises like the Cheetahs and Bulls.
There will be some familiar faces from last year’s team who played against the England Saxons in Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Jason Jenkins and Thomas du Toit but there are the notable inclusions of Sharks lock Ruan Botha, Lions lock Andries Ferreira, Stormers prop Wilco Louw, Cheetahs prop Ox Nche, Stormers hooker Ramone Samuels, Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant, Lions centre Harold Vorster, Stormers scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and forgotten Springbok scrumhalf Jano Vermaak.
“They are really not there for the sake of appeasing them or giving them consolation prizes. They are there to lift their game and challenge guys in the national side. And that is the culture we want to have, players performing well and they will be looked at and selected if it merits their selection,” said Coetzee yesterday.
The SA ‘A’ side will play in two matches against the French Barbarians at Orlando Stadium and Moses Mabhida Stadium on the eve of the Springboks first and second Test against France at Loftus Versfeld and King’s Park Stadium.
Ruan Botha (lock), Cell C Sharks – 0, 0 Uzair Cassiem (loose forward), Toyota Cheetahs – 1, 0 Chris Cloete (loose forward), Southern Kings – 0, 0 Thomas du Toit (prop), Cell C Sharks – 0, 2 Andries Ferreira (lock), Emirates Lions – 0, 0 Jason Jenkins (lock), Vodacom Bulls – 0, 1 Wilco Louw (prop), DHL Stormers – 0, 0 Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward), Cell C Sharks – 1, 2 Franco Marais (hooker), Cell C Sharks – 0, 0 Ox Nche (prop), Toyota Cheetahs – 0, 0 Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward), DHL Stormers – 0, 1 Andisa Ntsila (loose forward), Southern Kings – 0, 0 Trevor Nyakane (prop), Vodacom Bulls – 28, 1 Ramone Samuels (hooker), DHL Stormers – 0, 0
Ruan Combrinck (wing), Emirates Lions – 7, 0 Lionel Cronje (flyhalf), Southern Kings – 0, 0 Juan de Jongh (centre), DHL Stormers – 19, 0 Warrick Gelant (fullback), Vodacom Bulls – 0, 0 Makazole Mapimpi (wing), Southern Kings – 0, 0 Lionel Mapoe (centre), Emirates Lions – 11, 0 Dewaldt Duvenage (scrumhalf), DHL Stormers – 0, 0 Jamba Ulengo (wing), Vodacom Bulls – 1, 0 Francois Venter (centre), Toyota Cheetahs – 3, 2 Jano Vermaak (scrumhalf), DHL Stormers – 3, 2 Harold Vorster (centre), Emirates Lions – 0, 0 Fred Zeilinga (flyhalf), Toyota Cheetahs – 0, 0