5 young talents that could feature for the Springboks in 2014
South African rugby is gearing up for another World Cup and while there have been some notable successes in recent months, coach Heyneke Meyer needs to form a settled squad ahead of the big event in England next year.
The period leading up to the finals offers Meyer the perfect chance to blood some youngsters and here are five players who we think could feature for the Springboks in forthcoming internationals.
5. Louis Schreuder
Ruan Pienaar is battling with Fourie Du Preez for the scrum half berth but there is a lack of experience to cover should either player lose form or suffer an injury. In November’s 32-man squad for the tests against France, Scotland and Wales, Meyer selected uncapped Schreuder and 2014 offers the coach an excellent opportunity to give the 23-year old a chance in international colours.
After five solid appearances for South Africa’s Under-20 squad, Schreuder has had to battle to establish himself with the Stormers and while his distribution is good, an improvement on a record of one try from 27 club games would help to attract Meyer’s attention.
4. Quinn Roux
23-year old Quinn Roux has endured a frustrating career and while his quality as a lock is without question, he simply has to stay injury free in order to catch the eye of the selectors. Roux made the brave move to leave Stormers and cross to Leinster in 2012 but a fresh start hasn’t reaped its rewards just yet.
At 6 foot 6” and 120 kilos, the player has the physical presence needed in a demanding position. Leinster recognised his promise with a new contract in 2013 and if he can stay off the treatment table, Quinn Roux may yet have a big future in South African rugby.
3. Cheslin Kolbe
At the tender age of 20, Kolbe has already made his mark for the Springboks’ Sevens side and two tries in three Under 20 matches will have surely caught the eye of the selectors. The problem lies in a talented set of backs that are currently blocking the winger’s path into the Stormers’ first team and the time has come for that issue to be addressed.
Kolbe is blessed with lightning pace and a subtle, yet explosive change of gear and while he still has time to develop, some regular game time with the Stormers could yet propel him into the World Cup squad.
2. Sergeal Petersen
If Kolbe’s career doesn’t move forward, he could be overtaken by Sergeal Petersen who is just 19 but has enjoyed more exposure at club level. The Kings’ winger made eight senior appearances during 2013, scoring four times and those performances earned him a call up to the national Sevens and the Under-20 squads.
Petersen has yet to win a cap for the Baby Boks but he is another man with electric speed and sure handling that could see him make a major breakthrough in the months that lie ahead.
1. Handre Pollard
20-year old Pollard is a versatile player who is comfortable both at centre or at fly half and has an impressive accuracy percentage with the boot. The youngster signed on with the Bulls for 2014 and has already proved to be an important member of the squad in Super Rugby.
Unlike some of the names on this list, Pollard is already an established member of the national Under-20 side. After collecting a tally of 58 points from his first seven matches at this level, his elevation to the senior side may well come before the year is out.
South Africa are second favourites with Betfair at 5.90 to win the World Cup in 2015, just behind the All Blacks who are at 2.58. Meyer will take a strong squad with him but in the internationals to come, the coach may just find slots for some of these players and that should lead to a positive blend of youth and experience ahead of the big tournament.