JOHANNESBURG - In a week when new Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will announce his maiden squad, it is almost impossible for any aspiring Bok player to be thinking about anything else.
And this has certainly been the over-riding thought in the head of Springbok hopeful and Bulls lock RG Snyman, who has stood head and shoulders above many second-rowers this year in an effort to live out his dream of wearing the green and gold.
Along with injured Bok lock Lood de Jager, who will be on the sidelines for the remainder of the year due to a torn pectoral muscle, Snyman has commanded the line-outs with the maturity that comes with many moons of experience playing at the top.
But it has been his high work rate with ball in hand and at cleaning the rucks that has really pushed him to the front of the queue among the locks in Super Rugby.
But for Snyman, Saturday’s national squad announcement will be shallow if he and his Bulls teammates don’t live out their promise of returning to winning ways by beating the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld after last weekend’s dismal performance against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
“Definitely hoping (to be in the Springbok squad), but we first have a job to do against the Brumbies,” was Snyman’s short and sharp response.
However, before Snyman can reach out and touch his childhood dream, there is still the matter of the Bulls staying in the race for the play-offs after their 54-24 hiding by the Jaguares, which put them out of kilter after their win against the Sharks the weekend before.
The Bulls will be well aware of the seriousness of Saturday’s encounter against the Brumbies after being read the riot act by coach John Mitchell on Tuesday afternoon for their lack of attitude in their performance in South America.
The no-nonsense Snyman confessed to the tongue-lashing they received as players and says it was justified. He believes that the only way they can fix things is by dishing out the same beating to the Brumbies.
“I must say it was one of our toughest meetings so far, but it was fair of him (Mitchell) to be like that and we are going to have to fix it this week. It is not the end of the world but we can’t put up a performance like that again,” said Snyman.
The Brumbies, though, will not come to Loftus like lambs to the slaughter and judging by their attack-minded play and ability to stay in the arm-wrestle against the Lions last weekend, the Bulls are going to have to produce their best performance if they are to put the Australian side away.
While the Brumbies are just above basement dwellers the Sunwolves with only three wins out of their 11 matches so far this season, it was how they played against the Lions that suggests the Australians are looking to turn the corner on this tour to South Africa, and they will certainly be eyeing the scalp of the Bulls to bring to reality their turn in fortunes.
“Ja, I think the Brumbies will always be a tough game to play and one of the strong sides from Australia, and a tough side we are really going to have to give it our all this weekend,” Snyman said.
As much as the Brumbies will be foremost in the minds of many Bulls players on Saturday, the thought of the green and gold jersey waiting at the end of 80 minutes could be just enough motivation for Snyman and Co to put up a performance worthy of a call-up from Erasmus.