Here’s a closer look at how the Springbok players are performing in leagues around the world in the lead-up to the much-anticipated three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions.
French Top 14:
Bok flyhalf Elton Jantjies made his Top 14 debut this past weekend in Pau’s 47-7 thrashing of Agen. While Jantjies’ goal-kicking was horribly off target – he succeeded with just three out of eight attempts – his general play was good. During his 73 minutes on the park, he completed eight passes, six carries, six kicks from hand, made 12 running metres and notched a try assist.
Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach was in excellent nick for Montpellier against title contenders La Rochelle. Reinach was energetic on defence and attack, pulling off five tackles, 32 passes, two offloads, 13 kicks from hand, completed six carries, beat one defender and made one clean break, racked up 39 run metres and capped his performance with a try.
* Springboks Cheslin Kolbe, Eben Etzebeth, Handre Pollard, Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule and Jan Serfontein were all rested this weekend.
The Boks’ Sale Sharks quintet – Faf de Klerk, Dan and Jean-Luc du Preez, Akker van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen – were also impressive in their outing against the Leicester Tigers.
The Springbok scrumhalf played 64 minutes, during which he made 56 passes, four carries and 13m on attack. However, it was on defence where De Klerk showed his value, making a total of 10 tackles, including some vital cover tackles. With the Lions series only a couple of months away, De Klerk is starting to hit his best form at the right time.
The Du Preez twins, as well as Van der Merwe and Oosthuizen, made telling contributions for Sale.
Japanese Top League:
Incumbent Bok hooker Malcolm Marx helped the Kubota Spears to a thrilling 23-21 quarter-final win over the Kobe Kobelco Steelers, while centre Jesse Kriel‘s Canon Eagles side were eliminated after losing 32-17 to the Panasonic Wild Knights.
In the other quarter-final clash, Toyota Verblitz – featuring Bok pair Willie le Roux and Jason Jenkins – edged the Red Hurricanes 33-29 to book their spot in the last four. Despite the result, wing Makazole Mapimpi put in a decent shift for the Hurricanes.
Rainbow Cup SA:
Stormers flank Pieter-Steph du Toit got through another highly impressive 80 minutes, after making his return from a long-term injury last weekend. He worked incredibly hard and was again one of the Stormers’ best players. Bulls captain Duane Vermeulen played 60 minutes in a performance that was quiet by his high standards, but he came alive with some strong carries in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Despite taking a while to settle into the game, Vermeulen was superb on defence.
Also impressive was Steven Kitshoff, who was almost everywhere for his side. Not only did he make some smart captain’s challenges, but dominated the scrums, chased kicks and made plenty of carries. It was telling that the Bulls got the better of the Stormers scrum while he was off with a yellow and resumed its dominance when he returned.
Damian Willemse was rock solid under the high balls Morne Steyn peppered on to him but, while his performance wasn’t poor, it wasn’t great either. Willemse, along with the rest of the Stormers backline struggled on attack and never really got going.
Over at Kings Park, where the Sharks hosted the Lions, Siya Kolisi came through unscathed with another consistent display. He wasn’t flashy but the Springbok captain played well enough and, more importantly, got much-needed game time. Sbu Nkosi played excellently, as did Lukhanyo Am, who again showed his star qualities, particularly in defence and at contesting the breakdown. Props Thomas du Toit and Ox Nche literally scrummed the Lions front row into the ground in the first half, but the Lions won back set-piece ascendancy towards the end. Curwin Bosch‘s display was a mixed bag – flawless off the kicking tee, but his open play was a little bit inconsistent.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets