DURBAN - Two out of the three outings for the Springboks in their retribution year have come and gone, and plenty has been learnt.
June was a blow-out as the new-look Springbok side tore apart a tired French side and won back many hearts. The Rugby Championship showed that the same team can pummel the Pumas, go toe to toe with the Wallabies, and Jekyll and Hyde the All Blacks.
Up next is a trip up north, and to be honest, another opportunity to learn and to grow rather than to assert world dominance. Ireland, France again, and Italy lie in wait, and out of the three the biggest concern is of course Italy, seeing as they were the last of the three to beat the Boks.
I painfully joke of course, however, the point is that this list of opposition is not the toughest. There is no England to bother with and even Ireland have been a little up and down, so really this should be a chance for Allister Coetzee to keep blooding youngsters.
The coach has already alluded to it as well, stating that November will be a chance for some new faces, and furthermore, he has already shown those new faces on a few occasions. So, other than those who have already been earmarked, such as Curwin Bosch, S’bu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am and Thomas du Toit, who else should be getting a look in?
Starting at the back, because the prop stocks actually look quite healthy, Coetzee needs to get over his mental block about Ruan Combrinck. The all-action Lions wing was left out inexplicably for the Rugby Championship as the Boks’ wings shipped tries, and now unfortunately he has gone under the knife. Perhaps another excuse for Coetzee to use about lack of game time?
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Nkosi should, sooner rather than later, also be an integral part of the back three. He was hardly given a chance to unpack his bag in the return leg of the Rugby Championship, but the recognition was there. He is equally all action and would pair wonderfully with Combrinck.
Warrick Gelant is also knocking the door down for selection. He has shown pedigree since his schoolboy days and as the Boks have been going on, he has been going about racking up tries in the Currie Cup. The Currie Cup may be way below its former standard, but there is no denying his talent.
Jan Serfontein has been probably the only standout in the Bok backline, but needs some support next to him. Am was rewarded with a selection in June, but then fractured a cheekbone only to be forgotten about once he had returned. He is another absolute star in the making who needs a stage.
At flyhalf, Elton Jantjies has been exposed too many times when the going has gotten tough. Handre Pollard is clearly biding his time but his understudy has to be Bosch.
In the forwards, Thomas du Toit has reverted to predominantly loosehead and shown his physical dominance and technical ability, however, his issue is that Tendai Mtawarira is in the form of his life, and Steven Kitshoff is not far behind.
Wilco Louw also looked good at tighthead in his first cap, and although he was only there because of injuries to Coenie Oosthuizen and Frans Malherbe, he should be getting into the mix quickly.
There are a few positions where depth is lacking - scrumhalf, hooker and even flank, one of South Africa’s traditionally strong positions. However, there is still some time for a few new faces to shine as the Currie Cup winds down.