Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee included eight Lions players in his first squad of the year to face Ireland in June.
But after the men from Johannesburg’s successes as the leading South African team in Super Rugby, there have been calls for even more Lions players to be awarded with higher honours during the upcoming Rugby Championship.
Warren Whiteley, Julian Redelinghuys, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Ruan Combrinck and Lionel Mapoe were all part of the Bok squad for the recent three-Test series against the Irish.
And a few more have staked claims in recent weeks, this writer feels.
Hooker Malcolm Marx has been a revelation in Super Rugby this year and should contest for the Springbok No 2 jersey, which is currently occupied by skipper Adriaan Strauss.
Apart from doing the basics of hooker play well, Marx operates like an extra loose forward.
He is an excellent defender, is strong in the tight phases and often gets his team on the front foot with his trademark barn-storming runs.
Centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg was immense in last weekend’s 42-25 quarter-final annihilation of the Crusaders and should push an out of sorts Damian de Allende all the way for the No 12 jersey.
It was clearly evident how it took two, three or sometimes four Crusaders defenders to bring the strong No 12 to ground each time he set off with ball in hand. His solid defence would also aid the Boks greatly - an area in which De Allende appears completely at sea with at present.
Bok wing JP Pietersen’s form has also been under heavy scrutiny in recent times and here Lions speedster Courtnall Skosan has put his hand up. Skosan’s spectacular long-range try against the Crusaders sparked an early Lions onslaught and his enthusiasm and vigour could be a welcome asset for the national team.
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