Internal SA clash: The coastal team

With New Zealand set to hold a North-South trial match later in August, CRAIG LEWIS picks a coastal team for a hypothetical South African version of the match.

On Wednesday, colleague DYLAN JACK picked a northern side for this conceptualised idea, selecting currently contracted players from the Vodacom Bulls, Lions and Cheetahs.

North XV – 15 Gio Aplon (Bulls), 14 Rhyno Smith (Cheetahs), 13 Wandisile Simelane (Lions), 12 Frans Steyn (Cheetahs), 11 Rosko Specman (Cheetahs), 10 Elton Jantjies (Lions), 9 Ruan Pienaar (Cheetahs), 8 Duane Vermeulen (Bulls, c), 7 Arno Botha (Bulls), 6 Jaco Kriel (Lions), 5 Marvin Orie (Lions), 4 Sintu Manjezi (Bulls), 3 Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), 2 Jaco Visagie (Bulls), 1 Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls).
Subs: 16 Corniel Els (Bulls), 17 Dylan Smith (Lions), 18 Jannie du Plessis (Lions), 19 Willem Alberts (Lions), 20 Nizaam Carr (Bulls), 21 Embrose Papier (Bulls), 22 Morne Steyn (Bulls), 23 Cornal Hendricks (Bulls).

In response, I’ve looked at players from the Stormers, Sharks and Kings to conjure up another lineup for a South African internal clash that could be seen not so much as a Springbok trial, but rather a friendly that would be sure to draw plenty of attention.

It’s no real surprise that the backline is predominantly filled with Sharks players, with Aphelele Fassi, Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi making up a potent back three.

Lukhanyo Am is an automatic selection at outside centre, but then I’ve opted for a rather experimental pick of playing Damian Willemse at inside centre in a second playmaker role to the Sharks’ flyhalf Curwin Bosch. Herschel Jantjies is another obvious pick to complete the backline selection.

Again, the back row was quite a straightforward selection with in-form Sikhumbuzo Notshe at No 8, while former Stormers teammates Pieter-Steph du Toit and captain Siya Kolisi are naturally on the flanks.

It was trickier settling on the second-row combination, but I’ve opted for youngsters JD Schickerling and Ruben van Heerden to start, with Salmaan Moerat on the bench.

Up front, it’s of course the World Cup-winning front row of Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff.

The bench is also packed with talent, including other World Cup squad members such as Thomas du Toit and Warrick Gelant.

It is unfortunate that I couldn’t find a place for a solitary Kings player, having hoped to include experienced Masixole Banda on the bench, but he ultimately lost out to Gelant, who is a proven Springbok.

Coastal team: 15 Aphelele Fassi (Sharks), 14 Sbu Nkosi (Sharks), 13 Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), 12 Damian Willemse (Stormers), 11 Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), 10 Curwin Bosch (Sharks), 9 Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe (Sharks), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), 6 Siya Kolisi (c) (Stormers), 5 JD Schickerling (Stormers), 4 Ruben van Heerden (Sharks), 3 Frans Malherbe (Stormers), 2 Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), 1 Steven Kitshoff (Stormers).
Subs: 16 Kerron van Vuuren (Sharks), 17 Ox Nche (Sharks), 18 Thomas du Toit (Sharks), 19 Salmaan Moerat (Stormers), 20 Jaco Coetzee (Stormers), 21 Sanele Nohamba (Sharks), 22 Ruhan Nel (Stormers), 23 Warrick Gelant (Stormers).

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Photo: Gallo Images

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Craig Lewis