CAPE TOWN – With the World Cup approaching, getting those combinations right during the Rugby Championship is of course key, and Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has an enviable crop to choose from when it comes to his outside backs.
It won’t be easy, and some players have made it particularly tough for Erasmus. So, here are those back-three options...
This season brought some injury struggles and a slow Super Rugby start for Dyantyi, which put a lid on the impact he has been able to provide, although he steadily shifted into gear as the season progressed.
This man’s owned it in 2019, there’s no doubt about that. Mapimpi has every right to be guaranteed a starting berth in a Bok jumper, and his numbers support that. His all-round promise and hard work has seen him take his game to a whole new level, and while his attacking ability and X-factor owns the throne when it comes to what he offers, his ability to read the game, improved defence and grind at the breakdown, especially in the wide areas, make him a scary opponent to face.
Nkosi’s wheels also took a while to get into motion this year. His size is enough to catch the eye, but what really stands out is how he puts it to use (just think of his strength in contact and solid defence). What’s even better is how he compliments that with his attacking know-how.
(Another wing option - Jesse Kriel)
Standout wing: Mapimpi
Worth a mention: Cornal Hendricks
Willie le Roux
Love him or hate him, Le Roux can be the lighter to a fierce attacking fire when he gets it right. The key here, of course, is when he gets it right.
He seems likely to run out with the No 15 on his back for the Boks this month, and while unpredictable, you’re guaranteed big returns if the real Le Roux stands up.
He hasn’t had an electrifying 2019, and he probably wasn’t helped by the relative uncertainty that has clouded him since he made his Test debut, while the Stormers’ struggles could in no way have made his job easier.
His potency is public knowledge, however, and a relatively quiet 2019 is far from a fair reflection of his quality.
While he had a good start, his 2019 season wouldn’t be the argument Gelant would want to lead with if he had to convince Erasmus that he should wear that fullback jersey in this all-important year, although injury was again an unwelcomed visitor.
We all know the Bulls player knows how to work himself out of trouble in tight situations and is quite a constructive one with ball in hand. And before injury, he also appeared well on his way to adding more tags to his game.
Standout fullback: Le Roux
Unlikely and unlucky: Curwin Bosch
Utility backs (wing/fullback):
Few words can really relay just how good he has been this season. His defensive effort has also been laudable.
I still believe that fullback is this former Stormer’s rightful place, but as he has proven with Toulouse, he can pull a rabbit out of the hat on the wing just as easily.
There is one thing Leyds has managed to get right consistently - and that is adding some attacking brilliance regardless of how things go for the Stormers. He has been brilliant, especially in broken play, and his ability to pounce on a counter-attacking opportunity is one of his best attributes.