AUDIO: Boks looking for some Sevens magic
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The call-up of uncapped Ruhan Nel may just be the X-Factor missing from the Springbok squad.
Bok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick, speaking ahead of South Africa’s Round Five encounter with Australia in Port Elizabeth waxed lyrical about the ‘potential’ of Nel.
The 27-year-old, born in Port Elizabeth and schooled in Gauteng, played 135 matches for the BlitzBoks between 2014 and 2018.
Stick, himself a former Springbok Sevens captain, said Nel has all the attributes to be a key player for the Boks in the midfield.
Nel was one of the new additions to the squad this week and joined up with the national team in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
“We’ve seen what Ruhan offered the Western Province team,” said, adding that it was Nel’s form in training that convinced the selectors to expedite his promotion to the 15-a-side national team.
“We know he has great potential, as we trained against him a couple of times [at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport before the Rugby Championship],” Stick said about a number pre-tournament training sessions.
“We want to afford him an opportunity, especially as we continue to build towards the World Cup next year.”
The Boks’ backline coach spoke of the renewed energy in our squad.
“I think Ruhan will add to that,” Stick.
The hard-running Nel was included in the Springbok squad following injuries to centres Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am, and he has been in impressive form in the Currie Cup.
“We have to give credit to the Sevens system, where they have won two [World] Series titles in the past three years.
“There is something that they are doing well, and their players are being recognised.
“It’s also great that [Bok head coach] Rassie is willing to look at the Sevens players for fifteens,” added Stick.
“If I compare him with one of the legends of the game, he reminds me of Marius Joubert, who was always sneaking around the field and had a real eye for space.
“That is something I can see Ruhan also possesses, and his work rate also can’t be underestimated.”
Erasmus will announce his matchday-23 on Thursday.
— South African Rugby (@Springboks) September 24, 2018