SARugbymag.co.za looks at the Springboks’ back-three options for the upcoming World Cup in Japan.
Willie le Roux (fullback)
The most experienced option in the back three, Le Roux has played 55 Tests for the Springboks to date, scoring 12 tries for a total of 60 points. Le Roux is also the only player in the back three to have been involved in a previous World Cup, having started six games in the 2015 tournament under Heyneke Meyer. Having been a substitute in only one of 14 Tests he has played under Rassie Erasmus, Le Roux looks to have sealed the No 15 jersey.
Makazole Mapimpi (wing)
One of the breakthrough players of 2019, Mapimpi has taken his chance to fill the left-wing gap left by Aphiwe Dyantyi. The 29-year-old started all three of the Boks’ Rugby Championship Tests and scored in the win over Argentina in Salta, which gave the Boks the title. While he has played only seven Tests, Mapimpi has still taken his chances, scoring five tries to date.
Cheslin Kolbe (wing/fullback)
Kolbe proved his doubters wrong in 2018, exhibiting the mentality of a true Test player when he came off the bench and scored an intercept try minutes into his debut against the All Blacks in Wellington. The 25-year-old has continued his form this year, scoring against Argentina and setting up a decisive try in the closing stages of the match against the All Blacks. Kolbe has added value in that he can comfortably double as fullback. And should the Boks hit an emergency in the scrumhalf department, he has shown he can do the basics there.
S’bu Nkosi (wing)
Kolbe’s success on the right wing has come somewhat at the expense of Nkosi, who has been excellent in the limited Test action he has had in 2019. Nkosi’s brace in the warm-up against Argentina in Pretoria showed exactly what he is all about. A killer sidestep off the right – combined with underrated upper body strength – left the Argentinian defenders grasping at thin air. Already with seven tries to his name in just eight Tests, Nkosi has an incredible scoring rate and will definitely challenge for a starting place in the tournament.
Warrick Gelant (fullback)
Despite experiencing a stop-start international career due to injury, Gelant has shown he has the potential to be a future Springbok fullback. At 24 years old, Gelant has years ahead of him to develop and World Cup experience will do so much for him in that regard. While he made a try-scoring debut against Wales on the wing in 2017, Gelant’s best position is at fullback, where he can pin the opposition back with his kicking game and still pose a threat on the counter-attack.
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