CAPE TOWN – With the 2019 World Cup fast approaching, it does appear as if there are only a handful of overseas-based Boks who perhaps have a chance of forcing their way into selection consideration.
Six permanently overseas-based players featured in the Boks’ end-of-year squad, with coach Rassie Erasmus recently confirming that he isn’t likely to look beyond that current contingent unless there are injuries ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
However, it can't be forgotten that experienced former Boks such as Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn were originally named in the first Springbok squad of the year, before being officially ruled out due to reported injuries.
Du Plessis is currently out of action due to a neck injury, and that may well have put paid to his World Cup hopes, but Steyn impressed for Montpellier just this past weekend and remains on the radar of Erasmus.
Similarly, there have been plenty of calls for the Bok coach to consider fellow Montpellier centre Jan Serfontein, while Ulster-based flank Marcell Coetzee has consistently impressed since recovering from his injury woes.
Northampton-based scrumhalf Cobus Reinach is another player who was reported to be in line for a Bok recall prior to the end-of-year tour, but his eventual omission suggests he is unlikely to come back into the running.
Similarly, injuries appear to have surely derailed any opportunity for Pat Lambie or young loose forward Ruan Ackermann to stake a claim for World Cup selection.
For the likes of Steyn, Coetzee and Serfontein, though, there is the remainder of the European season to enhance their reputations, but time is limited.
What also works in favour of this group is the fact that a utility player with a booming boot such as Steyn possesses should be seen as highly valuable.
Similarly, the Boks have lacked some dynamism in the midfield, which could work in favour of Serfontein, while there is also a lack of depth at flank, where Coetzee could add some experience and quality.
African News Agency (ANA)