Allister Coetzee has no excuses this year

Super Rugby
JOHANNESBURG - Three cheers for the Stormers, Curwin Bosch, the Lions, and yes, even the Southern Kings.

There may be plenty of problems with South African rugby - and there may be unhappiness at the culling of two of the country’s Super Rugby teams from next year - but there are also the good news stories.

The emergence of young 19-year-old Bosch as a potential superstar of Springbok rugby, be it as fullback or flyhalf, is one of those feel good stories, but he’s not the only youngster who’s hit the scene in 2017 and got people talking about them.

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Allister Coetzee will be able to select an exciting squad this year. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePixCurwin Bosch is a super star in the making. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Robert du Preez of the Stormers has also shown he has a bright future ahead of him. So, too, his teammates - men like Jean-Luc du Plessis and his brother Dan, as well as, of course Robert’s younger brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel, of the Sharks, too.

There are many more young stars who are steadily getting recognition, but the most promising aspect of the Lions, Stormers and Sharks flying the flag for South Africa in Super Rugby is that national coach Allister Coetzee will go into the June series against France with several players in stunning form.

Not only that, but with players who look as well skilled as they’ve ever been, and full of confidence too. Despite all the negativity around the Boks and even the depth of our player pool, Coetzee will, if he picks correctly, be able to put together a very competitive and good Test team.

And, if things continue to go as swimmingly as they are for the Stormers then Coetzee might even be able to name a captain far more easily than he thought ... Siya Kolisi is seriously putting his hand up.

But, and there is always a but, the picture we have in front of us is very similar to the one we had this time last year - and that did nothing to assist the Boks.

Remember how a year ago the Lions players, men like Malcolm Marx, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck were the talk of the town - and rightly so - but they were unable to convert their Super Rugby form into the international area.

It’s not as if they all became poor players because they pulled on a green jumper; they dropped in individual form because they had different men around them and different men leading them.

One can only hope that the Stormers players who are putting their hands up this year, along with all of those from the Lions and Sharks, and even those few from the other franchises, are able to deliver for the Boks like they do for their Super Rugby teams.

That is the trick. How do you harness the positivity around the type of rugby the Stormers and Lions are playing and insert it into the Bok team?

The Sharks players, too, will add plenty of value to the national team this year, but we can only hope that the Bulls and Cheetahs players who are in the picture to play for the Boks quickly find their form.

There is plenty to be encouraged about regarding what some of our teams and individuals are producing in Super Rugby ... so once again, Mr Coetzee, you have no excuses when it comes to the Boks this year. There is no reason for them to not perform extremely well in June.

The Star

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