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Five pleasing Springbok selections

Ntuthuko Mchunu of the Sharks takes on Nama Xaba of the Stormers during their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park in Durban

FILE - Ntuthuko Mchunu of the Sharks takes on Nama Xaba of the Stormers during their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park in Durban. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Jun 12, 2022


Durban — Springbok squad announcements by definition cause vigorous debate and Jacques Nienaber’s 48-man squad named to play Wales next month is no different.

IOL Sport rugby scribe Mike Greenaway looks at five selections that have put smiles on faces.

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Deon Fourie: Should the tough Stormers flank make his debut later this year, he will become the oldest player to make his Bok debut, overtaking Deon Lotter, who played his first Test at the age of 35 years, eight months and 22 days old, in 1993 and also as a flank. I love Fourie’s selection — he has been an absolute menace in the loose exchanges for the Stormers and has been a major part of their success.

Marcell Coetzee: It is ten years since Coetzee made his debut for the Boks and three years since his last Test match. He has played 30 Tests but would have played way more if he hadn’t serious knee injuries and also bizarrely falling from favour with a host of coaches. Coetzee empties the tank every time he plays and there is not more honest a toiler than this humble gentleman.

Evan Roos: I doubt there is a more dynamic young loose forward in world rugby than this 23-year-old. He is in the URC’s top five of every statistic in the game involving a loose forward. He is explosive in everything he does and what makes him so cool is that he does it with a smile on his face. He is loving his rugby and rugby is loving him.

Andre Esterhuizen: You know you are doing something right when your fellow players across the entire English Premiership vote you as the best player in that competition. The 28-year-old left the Sharks for Harlequins in 2020 and they are still battling to fill the massive hole he left, he is that influential. At 1.97m and 113kgs, he is freakishly strong for a centre. Owen Farrell beware…

Ntuthuko Mchunu: In Durban, the 23-year-old is being hailed as “The New Beast”, and for good reason. Mchunu, like Tendai “The Beast” Mtawarira is a former No 8 converted by the Sharks into a powerful scrummaging, ball-carrying prop. Mchunu is mostly used by Sharks as bench cover for Springbok Ox Nche and has had some memorable cameos, including some barnstorming rampages to the tryline.


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