With Super Rugby almost at the halfway mark and suspended due to the coronavirus, we continue our look at the Springboks’ options in each position.
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 planned July Tests against Scotland.
We will take a look at the leading player in each position this season at the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers, and make our final selection. Let’s look at left wing.
The Blitzbok star has been a revelation for the Bulls this season. Specman has been at the heart of many of the memorable moments for the three-time champions.
He is all action, determined to become a 15-man Bok, and is well on his way to achieving that goal.
The 31-year-old from Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) has played in every minute of the Bulls’ six matches and built up stand-out statistics. Apart from scoring four tries, he has made 14 tackle-busts from 36 carries, as well as 10 line-breaks, which has equated to 476 running metres.
Not only that, he is also a team player, which is proven by his eight offloads, four turnovers, and 16 tackles. Not too shabby for a wing.
The 28-year-old may be younger than Specman, but is at a different stage of his career. Having earned 12 Bok Test caps under Allister Coetzee in 2017, injuries have hampered Skosan since.
That has resulted in him slipping back in the national pecking order, and it has been an uphill battle since to get into the Bok reckoning again due to the form of Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe and Sbu Nkosi.
Skosan doesn’t look as quick as he was in 2016 and 2017, when he scored tries for fun for the Lions as they surged to consecutive Super Rugby finals.
This season has been a struggle, too, with the Lions searching for form in vain. Skosan’s stats aren’t among the best this year, with just 131 running metres in five matches, with six tackle-busts and two line-breaks.
The World Cup champion is still riding the wave of Bok success in 2020. Mapimpi has always known his way to the tryline, and this year has been no different, with five in six games.
That places him joint-second with three other players behind Blues wing Mark Telea, who has been a freak with seven touchdowns and statistics that are off the charts.
But Mapimpi is still doing his thing for the Sharks, with 11 tackle-busts from 23 carries, while he has also managed to make six turnovers and 19 tackles in defence.
He is always a threat with ball-in-hand, and is able to find space almost at will with his electric pace.
The former Blitzbok superstar has had a better time of it in the 15-man arena compared to previous seasons, where injuries have curtailed his progress in wanting to become a 15-man Bok.
He has featured in all six Stormers matches, and although he has only scored a lone try, he has looked for work around the field. Senatla has made 22 runs and 185 metres, with four tackle-busts.
He has been solid under the high ball, and even made 27 tackles and two turnovers. But Senatla needs to shore up his defence, having missed nine tackles.
The 27-year-old, though, doesn’t seem able to fly past defenders like he does in the Sevens arena
Specman has grabbed the headlines for his eye-catching displays, but Mapimpi is still the master.
super.rugby and foxsports.com.au