Springboks

5 players knocking on the door for Bok call-ups

2017-10-17 11:01
Makazole Mapimpi (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Springboks go into their end-of-year European tour with a lot to prove. 

There has certainly been improvement this year compared to 2016, but just how successful a year this has been will largely be determined by how the Boks go in fixtures against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales. 

The only defeats remain the two losses to the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship, but leaving with two draws against the Wallabies was disappointing. 

If the Boks can emerge with a clean sweep of wins over November and December, then 2017 will surely be considered a resounding success. 

Coetzee, as always, will have some tough selection decisions to make. 

He has been incredibly loyal in his team selections this year as work on what he has called a "new team" has progressed, but there are a number of players on the outside looking in who will be fancying their chances of a call-up. 

A number of those come in the back three, where the Boks have looked questionable at times this year. 

Here, we identify FIVE players who will be hoping they have done enough to get a look-in. 

Makazole Mapimpi

Age - 27

Tests - 0

Mapimpi has been superb throughout 2017. He scored 11 tries for the Kings in Super rugby - only the Hurricanes duo of Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape scored more - and has already notched up five tries for the Cheetahs in the PRO14 to be the tournament's joint-leading try scorer. His finishing is sublime, he has raw pace and it is hard to see him being ignored for much longer. Dillyn Leyds has put his hand up for an extended run on the one Bok wing, so Mapimpi's likeliest path to a Springbok jersey could come at the expense of Courtnall Skosan. 

Dan du Preez

Age - 22

Tests - 0

Dan du Preez has been involved with the Boks this year without getting on the park, but with the continued unavailability of Warren Whiteley at No 8, the end-of-year tour might be a good opportunity for the Boks to back this young talent. There are other options at No 8 - Uzair Cassiem, Francois Louw and Jean-Luc du Preez - but Dan du Preez is a natural fit given that has been his position at the Sharks. Both Du Preez brothers are expected to play a lot of Test rugby for the Boks, so why not get them both going as early as possible? 

Lukhanyo Am

Age - 23

Tests - 0

The fit-again Sharks midfielder had been threatening to make his Bok debut this year before injury struck. He was also one of the players who really put his hand up in Super Rugby. The problem for Am is that, in Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel, Coetzee seems very set on his centre pairing and with good reason. The Serfontein/Kriel partnership does look to be one that has legs, so if Am is to force his way into the mix next month it might have to be at the expense of Damian de Allende, who has filled the impact role off the bench without causing any damage to opposition teams. 

Warrick Gelant

Age - 22

Tests - 0

Gelant is a player who also has an incredibly bright future. His age means that he has time on his side, but his problem has been staying fit. Hopefully those injury woes are behind him, and with the jury still out on Andries Coetzee, the Bok fullback position could be there for the taking. Curwin Bosch, capped against France in June, is another option at fullback, but the hype surrounding Gelant in the position is likely to be answered at some stage. Our chief writer Rob Houwing offered his thoughts on Gelant earlier this week. 

Sbu Nkosi

Age - 21

Tests - 0

Nkosi was called up to the Bok squad after the horror show in Albany, but in the end Coetzee went for Leyds as his replacement for Raymond Rhule. Like Mapimpi, his best chance may be at the expense of Skosan. Nkosi is a physically imposing player, and that makes him an attractive option up north. 

Pics: Gallo Images

Read more on:    springboks  |  dan du preez  |  makazole mapimpi  |  rugby
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