Rhyno Smith has all the tools for Bok full-back
JOHANNESBURG – With rugby on an extended break, here are my five wild cards that the Springbok selectors can certainly think about until the sport resumes.
Rhyno Smith (full-back, 27)
Rhyno Smith will not top everyone’s list of candidates for the No 15 position but, if you’ve watched him closely, he has all the tools to give any international opponent problems.
He moved to the Sharks after starring for the Leopards but game time dried up and the Cheetahs took him in. With the freedom to express himself in Bloemfontein, Smith has been one of the Cheetahs’ stand-out performers in the Pro14. He is accomplished in the air, punts without fuss, kicks accurately for poles and joins the line with deadly dynamism.
Rosko Specman (wing, 30)
“Specmagic” solidified his place as a Sevens Hall of Famer and took the long way round to Super Rugby by playing for the SA Sevens team and winning a couple HSBC World Sevens Series titles.
His skills, untamed under coach Pote Human, have allowed him to flourish and cleave holes through hulky defences. He has already scored his first hat-trick of the season. He could be an excellent option off the bench to rev up the torque when defences are tired.
Joseph Dweba (hooker, 24)
Few players had a better 2018-19 season than the Cheetahs hooker. He emerged as a bulldozing force of a man, with a clean line-out.
He had the kind of mongrel all hookers worth their salt should have and his command of the line-out driving maul was exceptional.
Pity, though, it came a season too late for him to force his way into the Springbok line-up for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. But, with Schalk Brits retired, Bongi Mbonambi injured, Malcolm Marx playing in the Japan Top League, there are plenty openings in the national ranks.
Jaco Visagie (hooker, 27)
Ditto Jaco Visagie. The Bulls hooker has made quiet but steady strides upwards. His line-out work has improved markedly and he has added a running dimension to his game this year.
He could develop into an Adriaan Strauss type player - a no fuss, hooker’s hooker, who is great at doing the basics. It is an underrated trait in this hurried chance for the next Bismarck du Plessis. Also working in his favour are the aforementioned openings in his position. Springboks Scarra Ntubeni and Marx, however, should still have a big say.
Sintu Manjezi (lock, 24)
Sintu “Jigga” Manjezi is what you’d call a “baller”.
The St Andrew’s College product not only adds grunt to the Cheetahs second row but he has the big man skills that made Brodie Retallick the best player in the world. While competition is still in the second row, Manjezi helped his cause with some barnstorming Pro14 performances this year, not least when he scored a double in the 31-30 thrilling Cheetahs win against the Southern Kings.@Sbu_Mjikeliso