Will Keegan and Jacques be there?

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Springboks on 6 Oct 2008 at 17:24
Tagged with : , ,

Looking at the top try scorers in the Round Robin stages of the 2008 Currie Cup, we see dynamic Sharks flankers Keegan Daniel (9) and Jacques Botes (8) right at the top of the standings. Will either of them receive a long awaited call-up to the Springbok touring side, to be announced in three weeks’ time?

Botes has been a stalwart at openside flanker for the Sharks for going on 4 seasons now, yet has been consistently overlooked for higher honours. His slight frame belies surprising strength and he has pace and skill aplenty, yet has somehow never managed to establish himself as a worthy understudy to Schalk Burger. Jake White quite famously never saw the need to develop backup in a position he never really believed in in the first place and was forced to make do with Solly Tyibilika and (to a lesser extent) Wikus van Heerden, whenever Burger was unavailable to play openside. Such was the extent of White’s bias against smaller, faster flankers that we’ve even seen Pierre Spies, Joe van Niekerk and (most amazingly of all) the brontosaurus-like Danie Rossouw picked at open-side for the Springboks. White eventually handed a single cap to both Luke Watson and Kabamba Floors, with the former still earmarked as the de facto stand-in openside for the Boks. The fact that Lucky Luke hardly ever plays openside at provincial or Super 14 level doesn’t seem to come into it.

Botes, all the while, has gone about his duty uncomplainingly. He plays hard, supports his team-mates, scores his tries and gives the credit to his maker on those almost embarrassingly frequent occasions that he emerges from the fray as man of the match. He is the ultimate team man and it would be one of the great travesties of the game if he is forced to play out his time without being given the opportunity to represent his country. He is a better all-round player than Luke Watson and based on current form, as well as his exploits over the last 3 or more seasons, Jacques Botes deserves a spot on the Bok end-of-year tour to the UK.

Botes’s competition, though, may well come from the unlikeliest of places; his own team mate Keegan Daniel.

Having emerged as a real talent at age group level, Daniel’s relative lack of bulk has seen him struggle to command a regular starting berth for the Sharks in senior rugby. He has always maintained that his superior fitness, pace and handling skills set him apart from your run-of-the-mill loose forward and as such his lack of weight is nowhere near as much of an issue as some would make it out to be. That said, he has really struggled to adapt to the traditional role of an openside flanker and the demands of that position really seem to negate his best attributes.

Daniel has been shifted around a lot this year, but has really started to look the part when playing at number 8. His most recent surge up the try-scoring table was courtesy of a hat-trick against Griquas this weekend, where he played on the blindside in tandem with his good friend Ryan Kankowski. I’m not for a moment suggesting that Daniel is a better bet to start at 7 than Jean Deysel is, particularly not against a far better pack than the one Griquas boast, but there’s an interesting synergy at play that makes Daniel and Kankowski individually so much better when they are on the field together. Even if Daniel is not viewed as a starting option for either the Sharks or the Boks, he is certainly the sort of player who could add massive impact coming on in the second half, particularly if Kanko is in the team.

He’s also about the only guy that Bismarck du Plessis can reliably hit in the lineout!

Given, then, that in South Africa, we have no shortage of big loose forwards, with Juan Smith, Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski and Schalk Burger the front runners, it’s by no means inconceivable that place could (and should) be found in a national squad for both Jacques Botes and Keegan Daniel. I’m not going to put my money on both making it, but I’ll be quite disappointed if at least one of them doesn’t get the nod.


  • ok, ok – tell me I’m biased.

    I would pick Deysel to tour as well πŸ™‚

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.10.08 17:26:29 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Maak al die SHarkies Bokke!

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.10.08 17:41:29 by Baldrick Reply

  • I’b be surprised if either makes it. Besides we already have a small loosie. πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.10.08 17:41:43 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 3) : who? Look? PLEASE no!

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.10.08 17:47:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Unfortunately. Not my first choice though. Or my second.. or third… or fourth… 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.10.08 17:52:37 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 5) : remember that Joe won’t be there either… even if they do take Mr useless along, there should still be one spot up for grabs

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.10.08 17:58:24 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : My money would then be on Daniel then.

    Gotta run.

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.10.08 18:04:22 by McLovin Reply

  • Come on Rob – Jacques is a great provincial player, and a very nice bloke, but I don’t think he is seriously in contention for a Bok place.

    He is a true opensider, but not a fetcher; I hope he gets a chance, but I don’t think that he has made an undeniable case.

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.10.08 20:59:19 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 8) : He’s better than Luke

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.10.08 21:20:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 9) :
    So am I. 😈

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.10.08 21:42:48 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
    Big Fish
  • Just thought I’d try some of that partisan bok-making journalism that works so well for the Cape media

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.10.08 21:48:42 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 11) :
    God forbid!

    Gavin Rich and his ilk are way beyond a man of your breeding and class!

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.10.08 22:39:56 by Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) Reply
    Big Fish
  • @robdylan (Comment 11) : Hi…I still think that Jacques is the unluckiest player to have never worn a Bok shirt….he deserves a chance πŸ™‚

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.10.08 22:43:19 by Me2 Reply

    Me2 aka Mama Shark
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 8) : @Me2 (Comment 13) :

    Agree BF… same with Daniels… (at least JB has proven himself in the S14)…

    Shows what a crock the constant selection of 46 is to even make us consider the above two objectively…

  • Comment 14, posted at 07.10.08 03:20:16 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Good piece Rob. Botes certainly deserves to be mentioned at least. But will not(should not) make it. As for Keegan, that guy SHOULD make it and seeing how he plays all around the scrum, he should be your perfect off the bench guy.

    Deysel to me is a must, even if it is just to see if he is capable of taking that step up, which I bet he will. At the moment I would pick Schalk(only on reputation above Baywatch),Deysel and Kanko, with Keegan on the bench.

  • Comment 15, posted at 07.10.08 06:04:02 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 10) : πŸ˜†

  • Comment 16, posted at 07.10.08 06:06:16 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @Big Fish (Norman Jordaan is a LEGEND) (Comment 8) : Agree πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 17, posted at 07.10.08 07:34:09 by Charlie Reply

  • @Silver Fox (Comment 15) :

    No need to look further than 6 Burger 7 Smith 8 Kankowski with 8a Spies on the bench and 6a Wickus and 7a Diesel… for the squad…

  • Comment 18, posted at 07.10.08 07:55:28 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • @bryce_in_oz (Comment 18) : What has Spies done to be there 😈 I would prefer to see Schalk at blindside and a real fetcher at 6 with Kanko at 8

  • Comment 19, posted at 07.10.08 08:41:44 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Hi Peeps!

    Had a hectoc Monday…even my hubby commented on me not being on the blog! :mrgreen:

    I doubt Botes will make a bok team…he is one of those guys that will always make the provincial team as you just cannot leave hi out…but does he have the “X-factor” to make a bok team? I doubt, IMO…

    My view on Saturdays game…Thought we had a good run first half…nice hands and flow and it was rather exciting…I said to my hubby I reckon Plum will start with subs soon after HT…THAT to me was a bit of a concern…the guys were completely out of sinc all of a sudden..and just could not get the rythm going again…They need to practise very hard on the combinations with the subs…I mean – check out the bench we had, and they could not get going.

    John I thought did well for being out for so long and I thoroughly enjoyed him being back. IMO I think he should be choses over BIS as I do think his leadership makes a huge difference and we did not really struggle in the lineouts either..

    I have to say (and DONT gooi me with vrot apples now) I think Adi did not have a good game…again IMO I thought what we all complained about Frans last week, was Adi’s type of play this past Saturday and Frans did not do badly and was defnitely a lot less selfish…

    SJOE!!! Ok thats me done with my amateur- rugby-enjoying opininion….now can I start talking (even more) crap again??? :mrgreen: 😈 πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 20, posted at 07.10.08 08:50:56 by I'ce (Rebel With a Cause) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice

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