A closer look at how the Springbok players are performing in leagues around the world in the lead-up to the much-anticipated three-Test series against the British & Irish Lions.
French Top 14:
Elton Jantjies put in a good performance off the kicking tee in Pau’s 35-29 loss to Racing 92, who had the British & Irish Lions’ Finn Russell at flyhalf. Jantjies kicked two conversions and five penalties for a haul of 19 points.
Dillyn Leyds and Raymond Rhule continued their fine attacking form to help La Rochelle demolish relegated Agen in a 59-0 win. Rhule came off the bench early in the second half and scored a brace of tries.
Raymond Rhule’s Impact v Agen 🔥
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) May 17, 2021
Eben Etzebeth made an excellent impact in his first start for Toulon since his finger injury, in their 25-16 defeat by Clermont. The Springbok lock made 11 tackles, but worked incredibly hard off the ball as he completed the full 80 minutes.
*Springboks Cheslin Kolbe, Cobus Reinach, Handre Pollard, Johan Goosen and Jan Serfontein all missed this past weekend’s action.
Wilco Louw played 64 minutes for Harlequins in their 35-29 loss to the Leicester Tigers. The Springbok tighthead made five carries and three tackles, plus one linebreak.
Faf de Klerk, Jean-Luc du Preez, Akker van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen were among the Saffas starting for Sale Sharks in their win over Bath. Both De Klerk and Du Preez had good outings and played a role in Sale’s first try, finished by lock JP du Preez.
In total, De Klerk played 55 minutes, making 26 metres, 47 passes, one offload and beating one defender. Du Preez played the full 80 minutes in his 50th appearance for Sale and made 12 carries (the joint most of any Sale player in the match), nine tackles and beat two defenders.
Van der Merwe and Oosthuizen, meanwhile, were replaced around the hour mark after both had solid performances. Van der Merwe made nine tackles, won a turnover, made seven passes and an offload.
Japanese Top League:
There was no luck for the Springboks playing in the Top 14 semi-finals this weekend, as both Toyota Verblitz and the Kubota Spears were knocked out by Suntory Sungoliath and the Wild Knights, respectively.
Willie le Roux started at fullback for Verblitz, who were beaten 48-21 after Japan international Kenki Fukuoka scored a hat-trick for the Wild Knights.
Meanwhile, Malcolm Marx started for the Spears, who were on the end of a 26-9 loss thanks to a fantastic performance from Beauden Barrett, who kicked six penalties and a drop goal for a haul of 21 points.
Damian de Allende started as Munster went down to Connacht in a 24-20 loss. The Springbok centre did make the most linebreaks for his side, though.
Rainbow Cup SA:
Duane Vermeulen was heavily involved in most of the Bulls’ powerplays up front against the Sharks. His brilliant performance was underlined by a strong carry down the left flank, culminating in the big man ruthlessly bouncing off an attempted tackle from his Test teammate, Siya Kolisi. The relentless Vermeulen didn’t let up in the second stanza as he continued to lay into the opposition.
Speaking of Kolisi, the Bok skipper enjoyed another relatively good outing, but he was let off the hook in the first half when he conceded a penalty. He, though, escaped any further sanction for making direct contact with the head of an opponent and did so with force.
Morne Steyn – who has gained increasing backing for a Bok recall – was at his best again. The flyhalf controlled the match by the strings of his boot laces with his pinpoint tactical kicking, accurate goalkicking and precise passing, which set up Stravino Jacobs for the Bulls’ second try. His efforts earned him the official man-of-the-match award.
Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane were particularly good for the Bulls, with the Springbok props laying into the Sharks forwards at will.
Herschel Jantjies was the pick of the Springboks involved in the Stormers’ last-gasp win over the Lions. After missing last week’s loss to the Bulls, he made his presence felt with a brilliant performance. He almost scored an intercept try in the first half, but for good defensive work from the Lions’ Wandisile Simelane. Jantjies also won a telling breakdown penalty in the final couple of minutes, when the Lions were desperately trying to run the clock down.
Meanwhile, Bongi Mbonambi scored a first-half try from the back of a maul. The Bok hooker found his lineout jumpers with more ease than in the loss to the Bulls, and continued his good work from ruck to ruck. He was substituted early in the second half.
Bok props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe had a bit of an off day at the scrum against two former Stormers props in Sti Sithole and Caru Sadie. That may have had something to do with the firepower or lack thereof in the second rows. But both Boks were substituted in the second half and the Stormers’ fortunes in the scrum improved from there on.
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images)