Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber will have to consider his second-row options after it was confirmed that RG Snyman will miss the Rugby Championship through injury, writes DYLAN JACK.
Munster on Tuesday confirmed the news that Nienaber would have been dreading – Snyman picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury after falling hard in the seventh minute of his side’s 27-25 loss to Leinster in Dublin on Saturday.
Snyman was making his debut for Munster, but limped off and could now be out for at least six months and possibly up to nine.
At worst, the injury could keep Snyman out of action until May next year, meaning he would face a race against time to prove himself match ready for the British & Irish Lions series, which begins in July 2021.
However, Snyman will definitely be out of contention for the upcoming Rugby Championship, set to be hosted by New Zealand in November this year.
As the 25-year-old was one of four locks – together with Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert and Lood de Jager – who won the 2019 World Cup, it will leave the Springboks will a gap in their squad, should they take part in the Championship.
It is thought that Nienaber plans to take an extended squad to New Zealand, given that South Africa will be undercooked compared to their Australasian counterparts in the tournament, who have been in action for the past couple of months.
With that in mind, these are some second rowers that Nienaber could be looking at as far as replacing Snyman in the squad.
Orie narrowly missed out on selection for the Springboks’ World Cup squad, naturally putting him next in the pecking order of South Africa’s locks.
The 27-year-old has three Test caps to his name and probably would have been included in an extended Springbok squad anyway.
While he plays in the No 5 jersey for the Lions, Orie’s ability as both a lineout jumper and effective ball-carrier would make him a natural replacement for the injured Snyman, who often puts himself among the backs with his extraordinary ball skills.
At 108kg, Andrews may not match Snyman for size, but he certainly puts himself around the field in a way that belies his beanpole appearance.
The 25-year-old has been one of the improved locks in South Africa since making his Super Rugby debut for the Sharks in 2016.
With 42 Super Rugby caps to his name, Andrews wouldn’t be lacking for experience and his ability at the lineout would come in handy for the Springboks.
Ruben van Heerden
Turning 23 years old in October, Van Heerden is the second-youngest player on this list, but has been playing senior rugby for the past three years – first for the Vodacom Bulls and then the Sharks.
Van Heerden has found himself at home since moving to Durban, coming into his own as a ball-carrier, with 44 runs in five matches.
Weighing in at just under 120kg would also make him a more like-for-like replacement for Snyman than his Sharks second-row teammate.
Schickerling has been on the fringes for the Springboks for a number of years now, but an unfortunate run of ill-timed injuries have prevented him from making his full Test debut.
The 25-year-old was in good form for the Stormers before tearing a muscle in his arm just before coronavirus halted the season.
Having also been tried at flank at franchise level, Schickerling’s work rate and mobility would make him an attractive option for the Springboks, if he can put an injury-free run of games together.
The former Cheetahs star, who recently joined the Bulls, goes about his business with a similar swagger to Snyman.
Manjezi has worked his way up to the top, having previously played for the Kings and Griquas, and his impact at all three franchises has been felt.
It is no surprise that the 25-year-old caught the eye of Jake White, with his ability as a passer, breakdown scavenger and strong carrier.
The youngest player on the list at 22, Moerat has long been touted as both a future franchise and Springbok captain.
Having had to wait for his opportunity to regularly wear the Stormers’ No 4 shirt, he was making the most of it in 2020.
While he isn’t he flashiest of players, Moerat is, in a word, hard. He does plenty of the dirty work around the field, flying into rucks with little concern for his own body, and putting in a defensive work rate similar to Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Jean-Luc du Preez
A left-field selection, given that he is better known to South Africans as a loose forward, but Du Preez has made a successful transition to the second row for the Sale Sharks this season.’
Before Lood de Jager’s debut, Du Preez had a run of six consecutive games in the No 5 jersey and has since switched to No 4 to accommodate De Jager in the Sharks’ starting lineup.
Du Preez has lost none of his effectiveness in the carry or on defence, making 132 tackles with a 94% success rate as well as 106 carries for 198 metres, averaging just under 2m per carry.
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix