The Springbok Green team beat their Gold opponents 25-19 in a scrappy contest at Newlands. DYLAN JACK picks out nine players who took their chances to impress the Bok coaches.
In a stop-start and scrappy affair that was by no means made for the backs, Lions youngster Lombard looked assured under the high ball and dangerous on the counter-attack. The 22-year-old combined effectively with scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba for the opening penalty try, producing a wonderful offload after scooping the ball from a cross-field kick and stepping past a couple of tacklers. Lombard’s debut season in 2019 was unfortunately ended prematurely through injury but this display should give him the confidence to kick on when he returns to the Lions.
The most impressive of the Green team’s back three. Penxe chased every kick as if his life depended on it and was unlucky not to get a try when he chased Nohamba’s kick, but for being obstructed by Damian Willemse. Penxe has been one of the most impressive backs in a struggling Kings side over the past couple of years. Hopefully, he can be picked up by one of the unions. He is simply too good not to play in the Currie Cup.
An assured performance from the Lions captain, where he showed his composure and leadership ability next to Nohamba. Jantjies typically stood very flat at the start of the match and attacked the gainline and looked to put his teammates into space. However, as the game went on and it became clear that it was going to be a tight contest, he dropped a bit deeper and used his boot to good effect. He kicked accurately at goal and out of hand. Defensively, he stood up well and intercepted a pass when his side was under pressure early in the second half.
A contender for man of the match, if the award was handed out after the game. Nohamba showed the kind of maturity behind the ruck that belied his youth. While his passes weren’t always accurate, he delivered crisply after a rusty return in a Sharks jersey last weekend. Nohama also kicked very well from the breakdown and managed to relieve some pressure when Green were on the back foot. He set up the opening penalty try by getting on the end of Lombard’s offload and toeing the ball through for Penxe to chase. A pleasing display from the 21-year-old.
The incumbent Springbok No 8 looks like he has not even experienced a lockdown, picking up where he left off in the green jersey. Vermeulen covered very well under the high ball and carried strongly. He also put Gold’s lineout under plenty of pressure. If he continues in this form, there will be questions as to whether he could continue past the British & Irish Lions series and through to the next World Cup in 2023.
Another solid display from the Springbok captain, who played well into the second half as he continues his comeback from a knee injury suffered in February. Kolisi put in some big tackles on defence and scored a try from behind a driving maul. It was an impressive display of his fitness, given he only played around 40 minutes last weekend.
Andrews faced a tough task against a more experienced opponent in wily Lions lock Marvin Orie. However, the Sharks player quietly had a very efficient game and did his best to cause Gold some problems at the lineout. The 25-year-old has put in some workhorse displays for the Sharks and lot of what he does goes unnoticed, but it was good to see him replicate his early-season form on a bigger stage.
Judging by this match, the Springboks won’t lack for depth at loosehead prop, despite the legendary Tendai Mtawarira’s retirement last year. Nche won an early scrum penalty against Ruan Dreyer and his confidence grew from there. The Sharks player struggled initially when Carlu Sadie came off the bench, but it did not take long for him to get the better of his man.
Easily the most impressive player for the Springbok Gold team. The World Cup winner was initially impressively contained at the scrum by Cheetahs rookie Luan de Bruin, but as the game went on, so did Kitshoff’s dominance grow and he eventually took control against the junior. Beyond that, Kitshoff covered as much ground as he could for his side and showed some good skill in open play. Defensively, Kitshoff against showed an impressive workrate and won a few turnover penalties at the breakdown.
Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images