The 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby campaign is going to feature some new and young faces in the Lions squad. ANDRE HUISAMEN looks at some of the rookies that could come through this year.
With some Currie Cup experience, Rass is set to feature in this year’s Super Rugby if the opportunity is there. The Lions only have Dan Kriel, Duncan Matthews and Wandisile Simelane as other centre options and the benefit of Rass is that he can play both inside and outside. Having moved to Johannesburg from Western Province after he matriculated at Paarl Boys’ High in 2016, the strong ball-carrier has slowly been working his way up the ranks and could be tipped for a rather big year. He has the experience of playing for the Junior Springboks at the 2018 Junior World Championship in France and adds extra competition to a very exciting young group of players at the Lions.
Hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, he did ballroom dancing when he was younger. Blindside flank Tshituka didn’t rise up the rugby ladder as did most other players his age in the country. He didn’t play SA Schools and for the Junior Springboks and started his career at lock, but the 21-year-old is en route to a very exciting career. He made his Super Rugby debut for the Lions against the Vodacom Bulls last year and made his first start a week later against the Jaguares. Tshituka brings a lot of energy and certainly keeps things busy up front. He is the type of player who could make a real impact on the Lions pack this year, while also adding strong competition to the exciting loose-forward group.
McBeth also has a rather interesting background but adds a lot of firepower and strength to the Lions squad. The 21-year-old played for the SA Schools team in 2016 during the U19 international series in South Africa and joined up with the Lions academy immediately after finishing high school at Monument in Krugersdorp. But at the start of 2018 McBeth was eligible for selection for Scotland for the U20 Six Nations competition. He made a total of four appearances for the Scots before returning to Johannesburg after the completion of the competition. And a few months later McBeth was included in the Junior Springbok squad for the Junior World Championship in France, where they claimed the bronze medal. The prop also made his debut against the Jaguares last year and has since been part of the Lions future plans, setting him up for an important 2020.
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix