Readers' view on Kwagga selection
OPINION: Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus named his much-changed team to line up against the All Blacks in Wellington this weekend. Here is what readers thought of it …
Of the XV that started against the Wallabies last week at Ellis Park, only Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Makazole Mapimpi will start against the reigning champions.
This is much closer to being a full strength Springboks team, although there are some players who are to return from injury such as Siya Kolisi and Aphiwe Dyantyi. But in Kolisi’s absence, Kwagga Smith has been called up to earn his second cap, and there is a lot of excitement about this selection on social media.
The Lions flanker earned his first cap against Wales in the United States last year in what was an experimental side, but has since been out of the squad. However, since Smith moved on from playing sevens for South Africa, his form for the Lions over the past two seasons has been hard to ignore.
He starts at openside against the All Blacks, and many fans on Twitter are looking forward to him showing what he is capable of in international rugby. While the 26-year-old’s frame, weighing under 15 stone, concerns some Springboks fans who are used to traditionally big South African packs, he will bring his unique skill set to test rugby.
Smith brings the pace and movement from his days in sevens into the 15-man format, and looks as though he would be better suited in the backs sometimes. But his prowess at the breakdown means he is ultimately most comfortable as a loose forward, as he will match the likes of Sam Cane and Ardie Savea over the ball.
There were fears that Smith’s test career was going to be a short one after failing to earn another cap after the loss to Wales in June last year, but he has truly earned his second cap, and it is on the biggest stage of them all.
This is how the fans have reacted:
Power team! Kwagga finally gets his opportunity, it’s going to be a cracker! https://t.co/FIVwpdV6aS
— Phumudzo Tshiovhe (@Shepherd015) July 24, 2019
When it’s your time it’s your Time, Kwagga Smith
— Sira 🇿🇦 (@Sindisilnyame) July 24, 2019
— Priest (@omulasu22) July 24, 2019
& Kwagga 😍😭👌
— Ovayo Makubalo🌒 (@VayoMakubalo) July 24, 2019
Release the Kwagga!!! https://t.co/L3ZDbnNq52
— Njau (@_martinjoroge_) July 24, 2019
Come on Kwagga… https://t.co/PrUzNUXIzs
— aleckie ronald (@SirAlexas) July 24, 2019
I’ll say it again….Kwaggaaaa!!!!
On Saturday history will be writen when Kwagga starts. He will become a Springbok great.
— 🇿🇦Jan Venter🇿🇦🦁🦁 (@janventer07) July 24, 2019
Nobody deserves this more than Kwagga Smith 🔥🔥🔥
— Siphe’Sihle (@Luigi_SQ) July 24, 2019
Genuinely excited to see Cheslin and Kwagga start these boys worked hard both deserving of this opportunity.
— Mqwathi (@kamva_Skeyi) July 24, 2019
This match carries a lot of weight behind it, particularly after the Springboks overcame the All Blacks at the same venue in September last year. Not only that, but this is the last time that they will meet before their pool stage encounter in the World Cup.
A victory in this match will give either side a lot of momentum going into the World Cup, and this, therefore, is an indication that Erasmus has named one of the strongest squads he can. So the fact that Smith has made it into the team bodes well for his hopes of making the World Cup squad. The fans are just hoping that he takes this opportunity and shows what he can do.