In this edition of our rugby series, Ashfak Mohamed looks at the leading No 5 locks this season at the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.
CAPE TOWN – With Super Rugby almost at the halfway mark and suspended due to the coronavirus, it’s an ideal time to look at the Springboks’ options in each position for new head coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus ahead of the Tests against Scotland.
We will assess the leading players this season at the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers, and make our final selection. Let’s look at No 5 lock…
Bulls: Juandré Kruger
The former Springbok second-rower decided to move back to Pretoria after years overseas, but has struggled to reach the same heights at Loftus Versfeld that made him a Springbok in 2012.
In four matches, the 34-year-old – who has 17 Test caps – made 40 tackles, 11 ball-carries and claimed 19 line-outs, and his performances eventually led to him being dropped from the side for youngster Ruan Nortjé for the victory over the Highlanders and the tour of Australia and New Zealand, which was cut short due to the coronavirus.
Lions: Marvin Orie
After just missing out on the Rugby World Cup squad, the lanky lock from Cape Town is pushing hard to get into the Bok mix again.
The 27-year-old even played for the Ospreys in Wales in the off-season to be battle-ready for Super Rugby.
Orie is the joint third-highest on the most-line-outs-won list with 27 in six matches, but has proven that he is much more than just a jumper.
He has put himself about around the field, with 33 runs with the ball and even five turnovers, while he has put in 50 tackles. But his defence needs work, as he has missed 10 tackles – the joint fifth-most in the competition.
Sharks: Hyron Andrews
An old-style ‘beanpole’ lock at 2.01m and 108kg, the 24-year-old from Paarl may not look like he can pack a punch in Super Rugby, but he certainly does.
He has rolled up his sleeves and done the hard yards for the log leaders. Andrews throws his light frame into rucks and mauls, and is also an effective ball-carrier who has shown a touch of class with a couple of superb offloads.
The Sharks’ line-out has not been as efficient, though, as they are ranked last with a 78.4 percent success rate.
Stormers: JD Schickerling
Schickerling has been on the fringes of Bok selection over the last few years, with a number of ill-timed injuries probably preventing him from making his Test debut.
And he was just starting to hit his straps again after a delayed start to the season when he tore an arm muscle against the Sharks, and then the competition was halted due to the coronavirus.
When he did feature, in 231 minutes of game time across four matches, the 24-year-old from Calvinia cleared rucks and was a solid line-out target. He produced his best performance in a losing cause against the Blues, and has made 31 tackles in 2020.
While overseas-based Lood de Jager, RG Snyman and Franco Mostert are still the Bok No 5 mainstays, Hyron Andrews just edges out Marvin Orie at this stage in Super Rugby.
super.rugby and foxsports.com.au