Marcell Coetzee and Marco van Staden will bring a massive presence at the breakdown, as SA Rugby magazine readers have given the duo a Springbok call-up for the British & Irish Lions series.
Following episode four of The War Room, readers were asked to lock in their preferred No 8 and flanks.
The premise is that the Bok starting XV from the 2019 Rugby World Cup final are all unavailable and need to be replaced. A strong-looking backline, featuring the likes of Cornal Hendricks, Morne Steyn and Frans Steyn, has already been selected.
As far as the back row goes, Marcell Coetzee was unsurprisingly a big favourite to play at both No 8 and loose forward, should Duane Vermeulen or Siya Kolisi not be up for selection.
Coetzee got over 50% of the vote to replace ‘Thor’ at No 8, far more than the next favourite, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who received 10.89% of readers’ votes. The likes of the Du Preez twins, Juarno Augustus and Willem Alberts, all strong ball-carrying eighthmen, were snubbed for Coetzee, who would bring more of a jackal threat to the position.
At openside flank, Marco van Staden gets the nod to replace the Springbok captain, with just under 24% of votes. The three-cap Springbok, who will soon be playing his rugby in England for the Leicester Tigers, would complement Coetzee as far as a breakdown threat goes.
Finally, Rynhardt Elstadt has the unenviable job of replacing 2019 World Player of the Year Pieter-Steph du Toit in the No 7 jersey. Elstadt was capped twice in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup, but missed out on selection for the final squad. His ball-carrying ability and physical presence would bring balance to this back row.
To date, the alternative Bok XV, selected by the readers, are as follows:
15 Frans Steyn, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Cornal Hendricks, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Marco van Staden.