The 'almost' Springbok fifteen

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Jun 10, 2020, 14:45

Read this on RugbyPass...
There are a few others that I'd like to add to the list.
The likes of Derrek Minnie, the late Ethienne Botha and the great bulls fullback Johan Roets in their heyday

But this is a really decent team. I feel for Robert Ebersohn. He's always been a dynamic player and punches above his weight on defense.

There’s an old R&B song by Brandy titled: ‘Almost doesn’t count.’ She mentions a few things that almost happened in her life, but never did. In a rugby context, in the last decade, there’s been some great talent a step or two away from making their Test debuts being involved in national training camps, but never got that honour.

Some are still in line to fulfil that dream and for others, the proverbial ship most likely has sailed or indeed has wrecked. Below is my ‘Almost a Springbok’ XV from the past decade.

15 Garth April
I think if he had gone on to make his senior debut, it would have been one of the great rugby stories. April played an instrumental role in Durbell’s Gold Cup win that saw him get a call up to WP’s Vodacom Cup side before being signed by the Sharks and later on the Sunwolves. He was in Allister Coetzee’s squad for the Irish test series in 2016, but only ended up playing for the SA “A” side.

14 Sergeal Petersen
The Stormers flyer has been a revelation since day one. Scoring two tries as a teenager straight out of school in a 22-10 victory over the Western Force in the Southern Kings debut match of Super Rugby back in 2013, he has gone on to represent the Cheetahs and win a Currie Cup with them before moving to the Cape where he got a call up for the 2018 end of year tour by Rassie Erasmus after a stellar Currie Cup season.

13 Ruhan Nel
A solid 2018 Currie Cup season saw him called up by Rassie Erasmus for the final two Rugby Championship games but never got any game time. He struggled a bit in the 2019 season to fully adapt to Super Rugby but came into his own in the 2020 season before the COVID-19 pandemic stopped basically everything.

12 Robert Ebersohn
The glue to the Cheetahs backline is what I used to call him. One of the unsung heroes at the point in time at the Cheetahs who did stellar work on defending and organising the Cheetahs backline defence, got a call up in 2013 under Heyneke Meyer but never got his senior green and gold jersey.


11 Seabelo Senatla
The Stormers and BlitzBok flyer often speaks of his desire to still wear the green and gold in the 15-man code. He even said he will decline the Olympic Games with the BlitzBoks to focus on his 15-a-side game. The Welkom express has been to a Springbok training camp in 2014 under Heyneke Meyer and might still wait a while with the current crop of Springbok wingers available.

10 Demetri Catrakilis
The Greek master got a call up in 2013 by Heyneke Meyer whilst playing for the Southern Kings. He never got capped and the powers that be haven’t spoken of him in a national context since.

9 Nic Groom
If Groom, as well as Catrakilis, would’ve have been capped, the chances of them being a halfback Springbok combo – as they were at UCT, Western Province and the Stormers – were slim. Groom was part of Allister Coetzee’s first training squad in 2016, but with Faf de Klerk and Rudy Paige in the mix the cap never came.

8 Josh Strauss
Part of Heyneke Meyer’s training squad in 2012, the former Lions captain since switched allegiances by moving to Glasgow Warriors and ended up playing Test rugby for Scotland.

7 Cyle Brink
So close yet so far! The now former Lion got an injury in the week he was supposed to make his Test debut under Rassie Erasmus in 2019. He might still get there, but loose forward stock in SA and abroad is quite solid, so maybe not anytime soon.

6 Pieter Labuschagne
Like Strauss, had been involved in Heyneke Meyer’s plans, but ended up playing for and even captained his adopted country, Japan, at last year’s World Cup.

5 John Schickerling
Maybe Mr Unlucky. Every time he has had a solid season and there was talk of him becoming a Springbok, he’d get an injury just before the Test season starts. He has, however, been involved with Rassie Erasmus’s end of year training squad in 2018 and could very likely make his debut in the next season or two.

4 Salmaan Moerat
Called up in 2018 by Rassie Erasmus, the former Junior Springbok captain has not been involved again, but he is still very young and could make his debut in the next couple of seasons.

3 Frik Kirsten
The former Bulls prop was called in as injury cover for Frans Malherbe in 2013, but never received a cap before retiring in 2014 due to a neck injury.

2 Callie Visagie
Another Bulls man who got called up under Meyer, but never got a cap. He was brought into the Springbok fold in 2014 after the suspension of Adriaan Strauss following an illegal tackle in a Super Rugby match.

1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg
The former Lion and Stormer was part of the Springbok squad in 2012. He has been consistent in his performances and won two Currie Cup titles with the Lions and in his final game in South Africa with Western Province.

Jun 10, 2020, 18:35

That’s a seriously awful 15s team. You might get a decent 7s team out of the 15 though.

Jun 10, 2020, 18:51

Stopped reading at Ruhan Nel.

Jun 10, 2020, 19:46

Rate the wings

Groom had his moments

Cyle Brink is test standard

Always rated Josh Strauss - good player good leader

Schickerling is definitely test standard

Moerat looks a very good prospect

I liked Frik Kirsten, good prop

Jun 10, 2020, 20:08

I see posters whining about these selections without putting up any of their own suggestions. Bit of a cop-out if you ask me. Put up or shut up.

This is a team of the best SA players who were never capped. I don't agree with a lot of the selections but I'll at least put up some alternatives (Note that I don't think it's fair to include players like Pieter Labuschagne and Josh Strauss who played test rugby for other countries).

Here's my team of Nearly-Boks:

15 Aphelele Fassi - Bit of a cheat here because it's a matter of time before he becomes a Springbok but I'll name him in this team while I still can.

14 Tyrone Green - Wanted to pick Travis Ismail here but forgot he played in the test against Wales in Washington DC in 2018 so will pick Tyrone Green instead.

13 Harold Vorster - Probably a better #12 than a #13 but still better than Ruhan Nel.

12 Burger Odendaal - Not the flashiest inside centre but an honest grafter and solid defender.

11 Seabela Senatla - Bit small but I can't think of anyone better.

10 Lionel Cronje - No world beater but better than the turnstile Catrakilis

9 Sanele Nohamba - Will probably get a few caps but still eligible for this team.

8 Juarno Augustus - Like Fassi, will probably get his chance but I'll pick him while I can.

7 Cobus Wiese - Hard competitor. 

6 Marnus Schoeman - Underrated fetcher with a nose for the tryline.

5 JD Schickerling - Agree with RugbyPass

4 Ruan Botha - Hard grafter who would have been a test player in just about any other country but lock is a tough spot to crack here in SA.

3 Carlu Sadie - Great strength, great energy. May still become a test player but eligible for this team.

2 Callie Visagie - Will stick with the RugbyPass selection. Can't think of anyone better.

1 Dylan Smith - Not the greatest in general play but an underrated scrummager.

Think my team would beat the crap out if the RugbyPass team Chippo put up.

Jun 10, 2020, 21:07

I stopped reading when I got to Harold Vorster at 13.

Jun 10, 2020, 22:02

Here is my non capped best Bok side

15. Fassi - matter of time, pure class

14. Duhan v d Merwe - Rassie needs to cap him before Scotland do

13. Kobus v Wyk wasted on the wing

12. Vorster - class act, best rugby brain we have at 12

11. Senatla - if Kolbe can make it, this lad can

10. Jaco v d Walt - in line to be snapped up by Scotland

9. Nohamba - matter of time

1. Pierre Schoeman - Rassie needs to cap him before Scotland do

2. Dweba - matter of time, an absolute beast

3. Sadie - matter of time

4. Ruben Schoeman - great find for the Lions, true enforcer

5. Ruan Botha - should have been capped by now

6. James Venter - great find for the Sharks, stupidity underused by the Lions

7. Jacques du Plessis - Rassie needs to cap him before France do

8. Jaco Coetzee - it’s a matter of time

16. Kerron v Vuuren

17. Ollie Kebble - Rassie needs to cap him before Scotland do

18. Jannes Jonker

19. Lourens Erasmus - similar player to Mostert but with physical clout, now in Japan

20. Wiese

21. Makabele - great for the Cheetahs, moved to Sharks, got no game time. Has moved on

22. James Mollentze - the next big thing in SA rugby. Last years Baby Bok 10 but now playing 12 where he played at school. Stupid Lions are yet to cap him

23. Tambwe - I rate this youngster

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