FILE - Franco Mostert. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackPagepix
FILE - Franco Mostert. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackPagepix

Franco Mostert is the favourite at No 5 for the Springboks for the Lions tour

By Ashfak Mohamed, Morgan Bolton, Wynona Louw, Mike Greenaway Time of article published Jun 8, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Over the next few weeks, our rugby writers will be debating their Springbok choices from No 15 to No 1 for the upcoming series against the British & Irish Lions. Today we focus on the No 5 lock.

Ashfak Mohamed's choice: Franco Mostert

Lood de Jager and RG Snyman are in a race against time to be fit for the upcoming Bok Tests. That is why Franco Mostert, who started the 2019 World Cup as the first-choice No 5 – but later lost his spot to De Jager – should be back in the saddle to call the line-outs. Now playing in Japan, he has an immense work-rate on defence, enjoys carrying the ball and wins his line-outs. Mostert lacks a bit of physicality, which is where De Jager and Snyman edge him, but makes up for it by doing the ‘dirty work' in other areas. Even though Marvin Orie and Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg are in the Bok squad, Bulls No 5 Ruan Nortjé has been the in-form lock on the domestic scene.

ALSO READ: Springboks Damian de Allende and RG Snyman sustain burns as Munster quartet injured in 'fire pit accident'

Wynona Louw's choice: Lood de Jager

The 28-year-old Rugby World Cup winner is recovering from injury and was named in Jacques Nienaber's first squad as Springbok coach. He sustained a broken leg in training in April when he landed awkwardly during a line-out drill, and while Nienaber initially expressed doubts at the time about whether De Jager would be ready for the Lions series, there is hope, but he is now in a race against time to be fit for the Series. It's certainly a gamble and the coaching staff can't be questioned if they opt for another starting lock even if De Jager makes it in time. After all, it's been a long-term injury and more than a minute since he's played.

ALSO READ: Kwagga Smith ‘excited’ as first batch of Springboks get camp going in Bloemfontein

Morgan Bolton's Choice: Franco Mostert

I'm not totally convinced that Lood de Jager and RG Snyman will be match fit when the Test series starts, such has been their prolonged periods on the side-lines due to injury. The Bok think-tank, however, has kept faith in the two and they most certainly add a helluva lot of grunt to the pack. Even so, I would prefer Mostert in the No 5 jersey. He offers something a bit different to the other two, who are more bash and carry in my opinion. The former Lions lock is highly mobile, athletic, statuesque in the line-outs, and a good carrier of the ball. He might not be as big as the other two, but what he lacks in height and weight, he makes up with strength of character. If there is one player who I would choose to tackle for my life, then it is Mostert, such is his defensive commitment and never-say-die attitude. He is an easy starting choice for me.

IOL Sport

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