Mallett, Naas praise Aplon
Cape Town - Gio Aplon raised his hand on Saturday for a place in the Europe-bound Springboks squad as he helped Western Province reach a second consecutive Currie Cup final.
The fullback won rave reviews from former national team coach Nick Mallett and flyhalf Naas Botha after his try triggered a 33-16 victory over the Golden Lions in Cape Town.
Title-holders Province host the Sharks next Saturday in a repeat of the 2012 decider after the Durban outfit won 33-22 at home to the Free State Cheetahs in the other semi-final.
"Gio is a fantastic player who has great feet and constantly breaks the line," 1999 Springboks Rugby World Cup coach Mallett said post-match.
Botha also lavished praise on the 31-year-old who scored five tries in 17 Test appearances, but has been constantly overlooked by current coach Heyneke Meyer.
"I cannot understand why Gio is not in the national squad - he is such a consistently good performer at Super Rugby and Currie Cup levels."
South Africa play Wales, Scotland and France during November with the touring squad due to be announced two days after the Currie Cup final.
Aplon scored a superb solo try late the first half to help WP to the final.Gio Aplon scores for WP (Gallo Images)