Springboks: The options at No 8

2017-10-13 17:36
Allister Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - With Warren Whiteley and Duanne Vermeulen both unavailable, Springbok coach Allister Coetzee must decide on a No 8 for the end-of-year tour.

The Boks will play Tests against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales over November and December, and result will be crucial as they look to finish the year on a high and show how far they have come since the struggles of 2016.

Uzair Cassiem had been Coetzee's choice after Whiteley was injured against France, but the Cheetahs loosie picked up an injury of his own during the Rugby Championship. 

He is expected to have recovered in time for the Boks' clash against Ireland on November 11, but Coetzee can take comfort in the fact that there are other options in the position. 

Here, we take a look at SIX players who might come into the reckoning for the Springbok No 8 jersey. 

Uzair Cassiem

Age - 27

Tests - 6

If he is fit and available, Cassiem should still be the favourite to start against Ireland given that he has been Coetzee's first choice in the absence of Whiteley. That said, the Cheetahs man has hardly stamped his authority on the jersey since this year. He has been solid enough, though, and Coetzee likes him because of the extra option he gives the lineout. 

Francois Louw

Age - 32

Tests - 54

Louw plugged the gap at the back of the scrum against the All Blacks at Newlands and was competent. His experience at Test level meant that he could match the shift relatively seamlessly, but that was the only Test he has ever played at No 8. His best position is at flank, but it we will be reassuring for Coetzee to know that in Louw he has a player who is flexible.

Jean-Luc du Preez

Age - 22

Tests - 10

Jean-Luc will be a massive player for the Springboks, of that there is no doubt. The trick now is finding his best role in the side. While No 7 is considered his best position right now, his strength in ball carrying and on defence makes him an attractive option at No 8. The Sharks man stood in for Whiteley at the back of the scrum in the third Test against France and he performed well that day.


Oupa Mohoje

Age - 27

Tests - 17

Last year it looked like Mohoje was set for an extended run in the Springbok set-up, but he has been well and truly out of favour in 2017. His 2014 debut against Scotland saw him come off the bench to play No 8, but since then he has been favoured as a ball-carrying No 7. This year, though, Rory Duncan has used Mohoje at No 8 with noticeable success in the PRO 14.

Dan du Preez

Age - 22

Tests - 0

The other Du Preez twin has been in the Springbok mix this year without having won a cap. That time is surely coming, though, and like his brother he is expected to play a lot of Test matches for the Boks. He is considered a more natural No 8 than Jean-Luc and has been used there at the Sharks throughout Super Rugby. Probably the most natural No 8 at Coetzee's disposal.


Nizaam Carr

Age - 26

Tests - 5

A long shot, given that Carr is also considered more of a flank than a No 8. But he has been playing the position in the Currie Cup this year. Still, it is hard to see Coetzee going down this road given the other options he has.

Pics: Gallo


Read more on:    springboks  |  allister coetzee  |  rugby


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