David Moseley

New blood for the Boks

2013-04-04 14:31
Sport24 columnist David Moseley (File)
Cape Twon - You always know what you’re going to get with the Springboks, which is why most level headed rugby fans in South Africa love the national side. Bone-jarring hits, protecting-the-gold-of-Fort-Knox defence and impressive displays of blood, guts and thunder. That’s the Springbok way, and when it works not even the world champion All Blacks can take the heat of the Bok engine room.

We can also predict, with close to 100 percent certainty, the make-up of the first Springbok squad of 2013. Barring injury, all recent regulars will be present - Andries Bekker, Francois Hougaard, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, JP Pietersen, Jannie du Plessis and so on - are guaranteed picks for Heyneke Meyer. Non-starting squad regulars like Juan de Jongh, Elton Jantjies and Chiliboy Ralepelle can also book their 2013 Bok tracksuit fittings (assuming they get new togs every year).

But for once, wouldn’t it be nice to see a few of fresh faces involved in Springbok rugby. Now, perhaps more than any other time since readmission, the national team selectors are sitting on a glut of exciting talent outside of your typical Bok starters and back-ups.

The country has always produced stunning individual talent (think of the emergence of Jaque Fourie, then later Frans Steyn) but, be it by luck or design, the local Super Rugby teams all appear to be blessed with thrilling, young talent. Wouldn’t it be grand to see some of that energetic fizz make it’s way into the Springbok fold this year, a season where perhaps some chances can be taken when looking at the early fixture list (Italy, Scotland, Argentina home, Argentina away, in that order).

We’re not asking for a clean sweep of the old guard, that would just be foolish, but rather, a chance to see what a younger, more carefree generation could add to Springbok rugby.

With that in mind, we look at five promising talents that could take the Springboks to another level in 2013.

Sergeal Petersen
Instantly won the hearts of South African fans with his two tries on Super Rugby debut against the Force. Strong, bltizvinning and, most importantly, seemingly unburdened by the pressures of rigid defensive patterns, Petersen is just the kind of youthful exuberance that can set a team and crowd alight. Chuck him on against Italy. Really, what have we got to lose? Absolutely nothing.

Raymond Rhule
This guy gets better every week, proving that he’s no under-20 fly-by-nighter. Integral to the success of the Baby Boks at the IRB JWC last year, Rhule has shown strength and speed on the wing this year for the free-flowing Cheetahs. Along with Gio Aplon, the World’s Tallest Centre and Parttime Lock Andries Bekker and Sergeal Petersen, Rhule is also the leading local try-scorer in Super Rugby. There are plenty more to come. Go on then, Heyneke, Rhule and Petersen to torment Italy and Scotland? You know you want to.

Jan Serfontein
There’s been a clamour for this man (a boy, really, at 19) to start for the Bulls. He did just that last weekend and was a cut above every other player on the field, memorably knocking over the Brumbies lock when running out from his own 22 in the opening minutes. Jean de Villiers is the current Springbok captain, but someone like Serfontein looks a worthy successor in the midfield. The possibility of a Springbok centre pairing made up of Serfontein and fellow JWC winner Paul Jordaan is so mouth watering that stadiums will need to hand out towels for all the dribbling.

Lappies Labuschagné
The former Shimlas captain has been a standout performer for the Cheetahs so far this season. While the early retirement of Juan Smith was a massive blow to the Bloem boys, you could argue that his absence has hardly been felt. Labuschagné has been that good. Yet another superb local flanker, he has his work cut out for him in the quest for Springbok honours. But right now, he’s playing out of his skin. Plus, it’s about bloody time the Boks had someone called Lappies in the starting XV.

Pieter-Steph du Toit
Another winner of the JWC from last year, Du Toit has been in fine form for the Sharks this season. With Eben Etzebeth still on the sidelines and unlikely to slip straight into barnstorming 2012 form when he does return, Du Toit could prove to be the perfect foil for the World’s Tallest Centre and Parttime Lock Andries Bekker.

Who else would you like to see in Green and Gold this year? Send your thoughts to Sport24.

David Moseley is a former Features Editor of Sports Illustrated and current editor of sports magazine website ArenaSport. Click HERE to follow ArenaSport on Twitter.

Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    springboks  |  david moseley  |  rugby

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