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VIDEO: Skinstad sends Rassie a message over Bok No.8 options

SPOTLIGHT: Former Springbok captain Bobby Skinstad has revealed some of his picks to fill the No.8 void left by Duane Vermeulen’s retirement.

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The Springboks kick off the Test season next month with a match against Wales in Twickenham before a two-Test series against Ireland in July.

The No.8 position has been a huge topic of discussion since Vermeulen hung his boots after last year’s successful World Cup campaign in France.

A spanner was also thrown in the works last week when Jasper Wiese was given a six-game suspension for foul play in his final game for Leicester Tigers.

Rassie Erasmus will have several options to choose from when it comes to the United Rugby Championship franchises.

However, Skinstad is “hoping” that Northampton’s Juarno Augustus gets a look in.

The 26-year-old has been one of the Saints’ top performers since he joined them from the Stormers in 2021.

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This season, the powerhouse No.8 helped the club finish on top of the Premiership standings and he featured in a Champions Cup semifinal against Irish giants Leinster.

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“He has been playing such fantastic rugby,” said Skinstad.

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“He has really been putting in the time and effort over here.

“I think we are still in that phase where the number of minutes you see the person playing live might influence how much you know about how they will react to certain things, as opposed to the matches that you see him playing in the domestic league.

“I don’t think that counts in his favour, but I certainly think his performances do.

“He has been a fantastic ball-carrier and defensively he has been outstanding.

“He is a good line-out proponent, and I would imagine he is in that broad scheme of thinking because of how much he knows about the players from this part [Northen Hemisphere] of the world.

“He can also add to the general intelligence and knowledge of the squad.”

Meanwhile, Skinstad was asked to put a spotlight on the URC players he thinks could wear that Bok No.8 jersey soon.

“We’ve got a number of loose forward options to choose from,” said the former Stormers star.

“That long-range try [in the Challenge Cup Final] from Phepsi Buthelezi, who can play in a number of positions in the loose trio, just reminded me of how much talent is out there.

“Are we going to see the evolution of Evan Roos from a general squad player into a player who can step into that role permanently?

“Are we going to see a guy like Phepsi become a person that is always picked?

“Some interesting players are leading the stats. With the number of carries that we’ve seen from loose forwards, Evan Roos is up there.

“When it comes to the number of line-out steals and defenders beaten, we are seeing a lot of loose forwards in that space.

“Roos is up there again with [Hacjivah] Dayimani, who can also play No.8.

“I don’t know who the individual is going to be. I’m sure Rassie and the coaches are following both the stats and the performances very closely.

“With Jasper out it is something they will have to put front and centre. I think those players are probably the leaders at the moment.

“Some of the guys from the Bulls are very good in the basic game, but are we going to see someone breaking the mould a little?”

@rugby365com

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