Scarra in world cup frame?
SELECTION SPOTLIGHT: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has always earmarked the Loftus Versfeld outing as a final fling for some fringe players.
One of the players hoping to force his way into the World Cup frame is Western Province hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni.
Ntubeni is one of several players added to the Bok squad this week, ahead of the final warm-up match against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The uncapped hooker, Ntubeni, and his provincial teammates Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain and flank), Wilco Louw (prop) and utility back Dillyn Leyds were joined by Bulls loose forward Marco van Staden as additions to the squad for the Pretoria outing.
It is the last chance for fringe players to impress the coach ahead of the announcement of the 31-man World Cup squad on August 26.
Ntubeni has perhaps the toughest task of all the fringe players.
He is, at best, No.4 in the pecking order for hookers – with established Bok squad members Malcolm Marx, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Schalk Brits all ahead of him.
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It is a given that only injuries will keep Marx, Mbonambi and Brits out of the World Cup squad.
The 28-year-old Ntubeni has been impressive in the Currie Cup for Western Province.
Springbok forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot admitted that Ntubeni is part of the ‘bigger’ picture.
“Going into a World Cup you need four hookers prepped in the system,” Proudfoot told a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday.
“It was always our plan to create depth through the Rugby Championship. The main focus was to create a squad of not just the 31 that will be on the plane [to the World Cup], but probably about another eight or nine that would be prepared for any eventualities.
“At scrumhalf and hooker you travel with three, but you need one more ready to go.
“Province has been doing really well in the Currie Cup.
“He [Ntubeni] is a guy I know very well. He is well respected in the group. He has been in numerous Springbok training camps. I’m really excited for him,” Proudfoot added.
Proudfoot pointed out that Brits has not started this year and has been in the squad.
It is likely the Bok team will be revamped when it is named on Wednesday, with a host of other fringe players in the frame for selection.
In fact, very few, if any, players that started in the Springboks’ Rugby Championship triumph in Salta last week looks set to feature at Loftus Versfeld.
Possible South African team: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jessie Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcel Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt , 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marco van Staden, 20 Marvin Orie, 21 Albertus Smith, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.