With rugby on an extended break, here are Mike Greenaway’s five Springbok wildcards that the selectors can think about until the sport resumes.
If you were put on the spot and asked to name five younf rugby mplayers who deserve a shot at pulling the grren and gold jersey over their heads on a more consistent basis, who would you choose?
Who would I choose? I am glad you asked. Here are my picks.
Ox Nche (Sharks)
The loosehead prop started against Wales in the friendly in Washington DC in June 2018, but has been absent from the national mix ever since. This year he made a career-changing move from the Cheetahs to the Sharks where he has made a huge impact. The 24-year-old has impressed in Super Rugby with his high work rate, his pace for a big man, and his slick passing skills. Nche’s form this year certainly warrants a recall.
Aphelele Fassi (Sharks)
The young fullback has been sensational for the Sharks this season. His enterprising counter-attacks from the back have made him Super Rugby’s leader in terms of metres carried, and he has made the second most line breaks. Still just 22, he has made vast improvements in his all-round game, notably his kicking. His tackling and receipt of the high ball have also improved significantly.
Salmaan Moerat (Stormers)
The 22-year-old Stormers lock will be a Bok – it is just a case of when. Moerat has the ideal physical dimensions – 2m; 116kg – and has an exceptional pedigree, having played two years of SA Schools Rugby and two years for the SA Under-20 team. He has had his injury problems, but this year has played well enough for the Stormers to alert the Bok selectors.
Yaw Penxe (Southern Kings)
Followers of the Kings in the PRO14 will tell you that the 23-year-old wing/fullback is the next Makazole Mapimpi. From the same neck of the Eastern Cape woods, Penxe in fact played with Mapimpi and Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am a few seasons back at the Kings. He is an electric runner with the ball and has blinding pace. It is true that the Springboks are blessed with fine wings, but injuries are very much part of the game and Penxe needs to be part of the bigger Bok picture.
Joseph Dweba (Cheetahs)
The Cheetahs hooker is another stand-out South African performer in the PRO14. The dread-locked 24-year-old was the Man of the Match in last year’s Currie Cup final and has continued his impressive form into 2020. He played SA Schools in 2013 and SA Under-20 in 2014 and 2015 before making the move to Bloemfontein. A bustling hooker with a knack of scoring tries from close quarters, Dweba deserves to be part of the Bok mix.