Chance for JD Schickerling to impress Rassie at flank
JD Schickerling’s Super Rugby season was disrupted by injury on a few occasions, and that is probably one of the main reasons why he is not part of the Springbok squad at the moment.
Having toured with the Boks in Europe late last year, the young lock would’ve felt that he has a chance of making the World Cup squad in 2019.
He missed the cut for the Rugby Championship, though, and made his return to the pitch off the bench for Western Province in their Currie Cup win over the Blue Bulls at Newlands.
In fact, Schickerling had to operate as a flank due to the injury to No 8 Juarno Augustus, which saw Jaco Coetzee move to the back of the scrum.
He made such an impression with his high work-rate that coach John Dobson has seen it fit to retain him at No 7 for Saturday’s clash against the Sharks in Durban (2pm kickoff).
Augustus will be sidelined for about three weeks with a bicep injury, which sees Coetzee continue at No 8 and Ernst van Rhyn shift to openside flank at Kings Park.
Schickerling is behind Marvin Orie in the Bok pecking order at the moment, with the Lions man on the bench for the Wallaby Test at Ellis Park this weekend.
But with the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, RG Snyman and Franco Mostert also in the Bok squad, the 24-year-old Schickerling could benefit from being able to operate as a No 7.
He certainly has the speed across the ground to emulate Pieter-Steph du Toit, who has made a successful return to the loose trio from the second row.
Schickerling is even quicker than Du Toit, and his excellent lineout ability and willingness to put his body on the line when carrying the ball and in defence could make him the perfect modern blindsider.
So, a couple of stand-out performances over the next few weeks from Schickerling could just make Bok coach Rassie Erasmus sit up and take notice, especially if there are any injuries.
Dobson kept the rest of the team intact, and will hope to pounce on a Sharks side reeling from a 37-13 loss to Griquas in Durban last week.
“We would like to build on our performance last week and we know that we face a tough assignment against the defending champions,” the WP coach said on Thursday.
“By keeping the combinations together, we give ourselves the best chance of building some momentum and putting together an accurate game.”
Teams For Durban
Western Province: 15 SP Marais 14 Edwill van der Merwe 13 Ruhan Nel 12 Dan Kriel 11 Seabelo Senatla 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis 9 Justin Phillips 8 Jaco Coetzee 7 JD Schickerling 6 Ernst van Rhyn 5 Chris van Zyl (captain) 4 Salmaan Moerat 3 Wilco Louw 2 Scarra Ntubeni 1 Corné Fourie.
Bench: 16 Chad Solomon 17 Kwenzo Blose 18 Carlu Sadie 19 David Meihuizen 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe 21 Godlen Masimla 22 Josh Stander 23 Craig Barry.
Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith 14 Kobus van Wyk 13 JP Pietersen 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain) 11 Lwazi Mvovo 10 Curwin Bosch 9 Cameron Wright 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain) 7 Jacques Vermeulen 6 Luke Stringer 5 Hyron Andrews 4 Ruben van Heerden 3 Coenie Oosthuizen 2 Kerron van Vuuren 1 Juan Schoeman.
Bench: 16 Craig Burden 17 Mzamo Majola 18 John-Hubert Meyer 19 Gideon Koegelenberg 20 Phepsi Buthelezi 21 Sanele Nohamba 22 Marius Louw 23 Aphelele Fassi.