DURBAN – While the 46-man Springbok squad announced on Saturday night contained few surprises, there were some additions that gave rugby writer Mike Greenaway a smile.
Here are his five favorites in the lineup announced by SA Rugby director Rassie Erasmus.
The forgotten man of Springbok front row play has been quietly but convincingly plying his trade for Sale Sharks, after leaving the KZN variety of the Sharks at the end of the 2019 season. The 32-year-old’s last Test for the Boks was against Ireland in 2017, when he suffered a serious knee injury. Few would have predicted his selection, but it is well deserved. He is a colourful character who will add plenty to the Boks.
The dread-locked Dweba made a massive impression as the hooker for the Cheetahs between 2016 and 2020. Every union in South Africa was after him, with the Sharks coming very close to landing his signature. But the former SA Schools (2013) and SA Under-20 (2014-2015) man chose to go to Bordeaux, where his powerful performances have not gone unnoticed. He is stocky at 1.80m and 109 kgs, and a strong ball carrier.
Dan and Jean-luc du Preez
I am discussing them as a pair — they are twins afer all ! — because they are both highly combative loose forwards playing for the Sale Sharks. These guys are monsters and they have been smashing opponents in the English Premiership. If Duane Vermeulen cannot start for the Boks because of his ankle injury, Dan can more than adequately replace him; and if something happens to Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jean-luc is a like-for like replacement.
This a wonderful success story. The 24-year-old Penxe was in the wilderness when the Southern Kings folded but the Sharks gave him a lifeline, and he has been an aggressive ball carrier and hard tackler for them. He is one of those players who you know will do something positive each time he is involved in play. He is a similar player to Sbu Nkosi, another mean machine on the right wing.