The 'hard done by' Bok cases
OPINION: It was a bit disappointing to see some of South Africa’s top performers at franchise level miss out on Springbok selection for the end-of-year tour.
Excitement was building ahead of Nienaber’s squad announcement on Tuesday, but it all fell flat when we learned that there was only one newcomer to the squad that featured in the Rugby Championship.
That player was Stormers co-captain Salmaan Moerat.
The 23-year-old’s inclusion wasn’t really a surprise, as he has been on the Bok radar for quite some time.
However, two of Moerat’s teammates might feel hard done by, after Nienaber revealed his squad.
Stormers No.8 Evan Roos has been in fantastic form all year and he has been one of the leading performers in the United Rugby Championship so far.
Roos is the joint leader with Edinburgh’s Viliame Mata (Edinburgh) when it comes to carries (57) in the tournament.
The 21-year-old former SA Schools player showed what a massive unit is on attack by breaking through opposition defence with his big frame.
In terms of defenders beaten, he is second on the list in the URC with 20, which is just two behind leader Mack Hansen of Connacht.
It comes as no surprise that Roos also features in the URC’s top eight when it comes to metres made (240) after four rounds.
Another Stormers player, fullback Warrick Gelant, has also starred on the attack on their tour up north.
He is fourth on the list when it comes to overall carries (46) in the URC and he is also fourth when it comes to defenders beaten (17).
Gelant also comes in at second in the offload category with 10, which is one behind the Bulls’ Marcell Coetzee.
Like Roos, Gelant also features in the top eight when it comes to metres made. He was the man of the match in his team’s win over the Dragons in Round Four.
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Another player that might feel unlucky to be a part of a Bok squad this year is Bulls star Elrigh Louw.
He has starred in the back row for the Bulls this year, but he can also be used in the second row if needs be.
He played an integral role in the Bulls’ Rainbow Cup and Currie Cup campaigns and he is the type of player that certainly fits the Bok mould with his aggression and physicality.
Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus will have a clear idea of what they have with the current loose forwards in the squad and it might have been beneficial for everyone to see what players like Roos and Louw can bring to the party.
The Bulls’ locks have also put up their hand with some strong performances this year.
Ruan Nortjie and Walt Steenkamp both have high work rates, and their line-out work is right up there with the best in the URC.
Steenkamp has become a thorn for opposition sides when he competes for the ball in the line-out, while Nortjie has become one of the tournament’s best defenders.
Looking further afield, Harlequins’ backline stars Tyrone Green and Andre Esterhuizen have both made a case for inclusion in the Bok.
They were important members of a Harlequins team that won the Premiership title last season.
Esterhuizen has dominated numerous midfield battles, not only with his raw power, but with his vision and awareness.
Green has a knack for tearing defences apart from the fullback position and he is currently in second spot in terms of running metres gained in the 2021/2022 Premiership season.
*Is there anyone you would like to see in the Bok squad? Share your views in the comments section below!
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