Following several standout performances in the first two matches in the Rugby Championship, JOHN GOLIATH picks five Springboks who are World Cup bound.
To be honest, Kolbe was probably already pencilled in following his stellar performances in the French Top 14 last season. However, with the plethora of good wings around, he needed to show that the No 14 jersey belongs on his back. Kolbe did exactly that against the All Blacks, when he produced a sensational performance in Wellington. He met big All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane head on, and even outjumped the Blues man when chasing high kicks. The Boks also came up with some nifty plays to create space for the pocket rocket, with the last one leading to the decisive score at the Cake Tin.
The Bath stalwart is essentially fighting with Kwagga Smith and Marcell Coetzee for a spot in the Springboks’ squad. Only two of them are likely to go to Japan, with Siya Kolisi set to come back into the mix when he recovers from injury. Louw put in a strong performance against the Wallabies, showing off his leadership qualities and ability at the breakdown. He again made a big impact when he came on as a substitute against the All Blacks and made a crucial turnover in the Boks’ 22.
The Bulls man has worked hard on his scrummaging since moving from loosehead to tighthead. That transformation is now done and he looks like he could be the Boks’ starting No 3 at rugby’s showpiece event later this year in Japan. Nyakane had a superb Super Rugby campaign, and hammered the Wallabies at Ellis Park. He also made a big impact against the All Blacks in Wellington, winning a couple of scrum penalties for the Boks. Nyakane also brings a great carrying ability to the party because of his previous role as a loosehead.
This kid can definitely pack his bags. Jantjies has taken to international rugby like a duck to water. The No 9 cupboard was empty a few years ago, but now Erasmus can sleep well, knowing that he has three quality scrumhalves to take to the World Cup. Jantjies’ service has been a breath of fresh air against the Wallabies and All Blacks. It’s crisp and, more importantly, decisive. But what has stood out is his anticipation and reading of the game. His support play is magnificent, while he definitely has the temperament to become a great Springbok.
Smith also did his chances no harm with an industrious performance against the All Blacks. He made an astonishing 17 tackles and used his ‘big engine’ to get around the park. The Lions flank also played a massive role on defence in terms of his covering work when the Kiwis got in behind the defence lines. Smith is also a player with a lot of X factor, which will count for a lot when the final considerations are made. A lot depends on whether Marcell Coetzee gets a fair crack to see if he can unseat Louw and Smith.