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Just 100 days to the Rugby World Cup: The state of the Springboks

Just 100 days to the Rugby World Cup: The state of the Springboks

Wednesday marked just 100 days before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

That will take place on Saturday, 21 September, when defending champions the All Blacks take on the Springboks in Yokohama (11.45am SA time kickoff).

Now, with just over three months to go to kickoff, how are the Springboks looking?

We take a stab at the probably match-23 that Bok coach Rassie Erasmus will pick if he had everyone available, and what they’re up to at the moment…

15 Willie le Roux

The first-choice Bok fullback has been on holiday in South Africa over the last few weeks, having finished his tenure at Wasps in England during May. That means he wouldn’t have played any rugby for nine weeks before the Rugby Championship kickoff on 20 July.

14 Cheslin Kolbe

The former Stormers blitz has been in sensational form for Toulouse in France, so much so that he may have the inside lane at right wing. He’s played a big part in his club reaching the Top 14 final, which will be played this Saturday.

13 Lukhanyo Am

The Sharks centre has been at his best once more, and proved that he is the top No 13 in the country, despite Jesse Kriel going well for the Bulls. He will hope to take the Sharks into the Super Rugby playoffs this weekend with a win over the Stormers.

12 Damian de Allende

De Allende has been much more consistent this season, and has taken the initiative for the Stormers with some strong runs and big tackles. Also worked hard on his kicking game.

11 Aphiwe Dyantyi

It’s a tough call between Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi at left wing, but the former probably edges it for the Bok coach due to continuity. Dyantyi has been getting better in recent weeks, but will want to put in a big display against the Bulls on Saturday.

10 Handre Pollard

Has confirmed his status as the No 1 flyhalf in the country with a number of assured performances, although he still makes the odd defensive lapse.

9 Faf de Klerk

One of the nominees for the English Premiership Player of the Year, De Klerk has been his dynamic self for the Sale Sharks again. Plus, none of the SA-based scrumhalves have really impressed.

8 Duane Vermeulen

The ongoing injury problems suffered by Warren Whiteley means that Vermeulen isn’t being challenged for the Bok No 8 spot. But the Bulls man has done well at his new Super Rugby team.

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit

The workhorse of the Bok side has put his body on the line for the Stormers this season, to the point of sustaining a worrying shoulder injury that has put him in doubt for the Rugby Championship opener against Australia.

6 Siya Kolisi (captain)

The Springbok skipper has been in fine form, but also picked up a knee injury that will mean he won’t play again until the Wallaby encounter. Is it worth risking him from the start?

5 Franco Mostert

With Lood de Jager’s lack of game time in 2019 due to injury, Mostert should be the starting lock in the Rugby Championship, having come through his first season at Gloucester.

4 Eben Etzebeth

Etzebeth has been on again and off again with regards to injuries this season, so will he be 100 percent match fit for the Rugby Championship?

He now has a suspected broken hand, and may be better off sitting out the pre-World Cup games.

Eben Etzebeth is battling with a broken hand. Photo: Nic Bothma/EPA
Eben Etzebeth is battling with a broken hand. Photo: Nic Bothma/EPA

3 Frans Malherbe

Is he really the best tighthead in the country? Malherbe is certainly one of Erasmus’ favourites, but is being pushed hard by the likes of Carlu Sadie, Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw.

2 Malcolm Marx

The Lions hooker has regained his confidence in the lineout-throwing department, and coupled with his prowess around the field, he will be one of the go-to men for the Boks.

1 Tendai Mtawarira

The Sharks stalwart has missed the last few weeks of Super Rugby, but pleasingly for the Durbanites and the Boks, he is expected to return for Saturday’s game against the Stormers.

@ashfakmohamed