South Africa’s teams are chugging along nicely in their European tournaments and that should give the Springboks a solid foundation for a demanding 2024 season.
In June and July, some mouthwatering contests are on the menu, with Ireland, New Zealand and Argentina touring while the World Cup surprise package, Portugal, will play a historic Test in Bloemfontein.
On Tuesday, Independent Newspapers began a series that looks at the options at the disposal of coach Rassie Erasmus. We looked at fullback where Damian Willemse is a certainty and Willie le Roux is the cover.
Today, we check out the right wing.
The incumbent: Cheslin Kolbe
He is 30 years old but age is nothing but a number for the pocket rocket.
He has been in fine form for Toyko Sungoliath and come June he will add more caps to his tally of 31.
The contenders: Canan Moodie, Madosh Tambwe, Werner Kok, Edwill van der Merwe
The silky running of Moodie will not go underutilised by Rassie and when he is not covering for Kolbe, he will be backup to the 13s, Lukhanyo Am and Jesse Kriel.
The 21-year-old Moodie is going to be a Springbok great and will be the long-term successor to Kolbe.
If there is an injury crisis at wing, players on the fringe include Van der Merwe, a deadly finisher for the Lions, and the effervescent Kok, the Blitzbok legend who empties the tank for the Sharks on every outing.
In a right-wing emergency, a good solution would be to play Kurt-Lee Arendse in the position (he is at home on both sides of the field), and veteran Makazole Mapimpi could start in the No 11 jersey.
The outsider I like is Tambwe but for some reason he doesn’t seem to be on the Bok radar.
Maybe it has to do with him not being able to settle down in one team — he has played for the Lions, Sharks and Bulls and is now at Bordeaux.
But wherever the powerfully built Tambwe is, he scores tries … loads of them.
In terms of physical dimensions, athleticism and savage finishing, he is reminiscent of the great All Black wing Julian Savea.
Tambwe scored 12 tries in 27 matches for the Bulls between 2021 and 2022 and five tries in nine games for the Sharks in 2020.
The 26-year-old scored 10 tries in his 20 matches for Bordeaux but has yet to be called up to the Springbok squad.
It would be no surprise if he ends up playing for France in two years when he has completed the stipulated qualifying period.
It is true that there is a complication because Tambwe was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Tshituka brothers, Vincent and Emmanual, have a similar problem but red tape can disappear if the Springbok coach wants it to.
Tendai Mtawariria can testify to that — the Zimbabwean-born Beast gained a South African passport in record time because of help from the right places.