Richard Ferguson

Something to look forward to: Props

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Original Content, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 10 Jun 2015 at 07:52
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With the Super Rugby season heading into the business end, and the Sharks’ season being over around the half way stage already, my mind has wondered to the big event coming later this year. And no, I am not talking about the Currie Cup where all our majestic youngsters will be put on stage.

With all the rugby being played nowadays and there being a general feeling of enough is enough by the time we reach April, there is still something special about a World Cup. It only comes around once in four years and that wait to see all the World’s top teams in action is something to savour and personally, it still gets me excited.

It is still early days, but now is the perfect time to look at which players should go along to the World Cup and who might stay behind. Yes, there might still be a Rugby Championship to play out, but not every single player available will be taking part in this event, like they are now during Super Rugby. So while the form is still fresh in our minds, it is easier to speculate.

I will be doing a series of articles looking at specific positions and the players that make up the selection group, and from there, we can start making our case for our favourite players. Let’s start up front, with the big boys.

The Springboks have not always been in the position to say they have good quality depth in the front row, especially at tighthead. But this year, things seem a little different. It is at loose head that the Springboks seem to have the least amount of form options.

The smart money will be on Tendai Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis to start most games during the Rugby Championship and as a result be first choice come the World Cup, but recent form and the good showing of others may put that into doubt.

Steven Kitshoff must surely be pushing hard at the ankles of the Beast to get the nod, while the Beast has not been particularly great this year to date (and not for the last few seasons actually). Looking further than those two, you are hard pressed to find a stand out performer to date. Coenie Oosthuizen is always an option, and hopefully with the tightheads coming through the year, his little experiment on the other side of the scrum is a thing of the past.

Similarly, Jannie du Plessis has seen the effect of playing 80 minutes a weekend for two years, with the other Sharks front rower hardly being seen as the country’s best. On this side of the scrum though, there is more than one player pushing for selection.

Both Julian Redelinghuys and Frans Malherbe have had good seasons to date, with the front rows of the Stormers and Lions being the form trio’s of the Super season. Both have made their international debuts under Heyneke Meyer, so both stand an equal chance of making the grade. Trevor Nyakane is another option, even though he has had a rough time with coach Meyer. He has shown moments for Bulls where you can see why is was so highly rated at one stage. Whether he has done enough to warrant a place in the squad before the others mentioned, remains to be seen.

I can write chapters on each of the younger props coming through and why they should get their chance, but the fact of the matter is that this is a World Cup, and that somewhere along the line, experience counts. Yes we should reward good form with a call up to the National squad, and yes, we should get these guys in the system before we lose to them to greener pastures. But do we simply drop stalwarts of the Springbok front row for the last four years. Do we shove Kitshoff and Malherbe into the cauldron with Ben Franks and Wyatt Crockett and hope they come through with their reputations intact. These are all things our dear coach must be considering at this stage already, and as much as I enjoy playing predictor here, I would not want to pick this World Cup squad for any money in the world.


  • copy + past teamsheet from last years match Vs the AB’s @ Ellis parks .

    *Goes to watch currie cup*

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.06.15 07:58:33 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 1) : You’re just saying that because you know the Lions will win it 🙂

  • Comment 2, posted at 10.06.15 08:00:36 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • What ever happened to the bok equivalent to Sharksworld, bokworld or what ever the domain was? I actually liked it.

  • Comment 3, posted at 10.06.15 08:02:59 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • Pretty sure Beast and Jannie will be first choice, and I’ll put Kitsoff and Malherbe on the bench. Truck along Redelinghuis and Coenie as extra cover.

  • Comment 4, posted at 10.06.15 08:05:51 by Dragnipur Reply
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  • I actually feel that Vincent Koch has played better than Malherbe. But I agree that on form Kitshoff and Koch (with Malherbe there) should be in the team. But perhaps Kitshoff leaving for overseas will count against him.

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.06.15 08:11:54 by Dunx Reply

  • Very misleading title. So what is there to look forward to the fact that we don’t have to make the selections? On a closer to home note what will the sharks be doing or looking forward to Rob? Any thoughts on our prop situation?

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.06.15 08:16:34 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Dunx (Comment 5) : Haha because HM totally doesn’t pick overseas players? 😀

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.06.15 08:16:58 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Barring Elton and Schalke Van Der merwe we should have the same team so i cant see any reason why not 😛

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.06.15 08:17:29 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Always enjoy your articles Rich.

    To the question posed – I don’t think you can start rookie props in the RWC, but you can certainly start them leading up to the RWC to prepare them as backup props, to be used at the end of games and in case your starters are not available for some reason.

    You surely need to get them ready for the possibility of being used more extensively than planned.

  • Comment 9, posted at 10.06.15 08:20:31 by Letgo Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 7) : More like exclusively, if you are overseas based he seems to want you even more. Does that give us a hint as to what he thinks about local coaching and competition?

  • Comment 10, posted at 10.06.15 08:21:08 by coolfusion Reply

  • After a super rugby season or two and performing as they did I hardly think these guys are still rookies. They have already been playing against the world’s best (bar the NH) and kept up under pressure. The leap is not that great IMO.

  • Comment 11, posted at 10.06.15 08:23:50 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 10) : I think it’s more a case of him having favorites and nothing stopping him picking the, be it them playing overseas or even retiring he will still pick them 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 10.06.15 08:24:11 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @Zibbie (Comment 8) : Except that wp came through last year and even losing players to injury and international commitments did stop them from scooping the CC.

  • Comment 13, posted at 10.06.15 08:26:31 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 13) : thats why the CC is more interesting than the WC 😛

  • Comment 14, posted at 10.06.15 08:29:32 by Zibbie Reply
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  • Apparently as many as 6 props will be taken out a squad of 31….My choices would be at loosehead….Beast, Kitshoff, Nyakane…..and at 3….Jannie, Malherbe and Koch…

    But i reckon HM will take Coenie in place of Koch…

  • Comment 15, posted at 10.06.15 08:53:25 by grant10 Reply

  • Welcome back Rich 😉

  • Comment 16, posted at 10.06.15 09:24:41 by pierre_mackie Reply
  • @Zibbie (Comment 14) : You don’t seem very optimistic about the rwc. I also have some reservations which might change after the first one or two challenging games. As it is I don’t have heaps of confidence.

  • Comment 17, posted at 10.06.15 09:37:03 by coolfusion Reply

  • @Seth101 (Comment 12) : Well in the buildup he had the excuse of testing the waters with his actual squad selection we will see what kind of man he really is. But yes he does favourite the veterans and the and the big physical boys. If that’s the way he goes then I suppose it wouldn’t be a stretch as to what style of rugby we will be playing at rwc. I really hope it isn’t what I think it’s going to be.

  • Comment 18, posted at 10.06.15 09:41:23 by coolfusion Reply

  • @grant10 (Comment 15) : I think u are bang on there. Only guy to throw into the mix is Marcel Van Der Merwe that HM has used before. But i cant see anyone outside of those guys getting in barring injury.

  • Comment 19, posted at 10.06.15 10:11:15 by SheldonK Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 17) : You know the script. We wiol make it to the qua
    ters and the loose. The ref will be blamed for the loss… And rins and repeat

  • Comment 20, posted at 10.06.15 10:14:14 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @SheldonK (Comment 19) : In before Dean Greyling gets picked. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 21, posted at 10.06.15 10:14:47 by Seth101 Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter Author
  • @grant10 (Comment 15) : No lions players. Moerse suprise

  • Comment 22, posted at 10.06.15 10:20:23 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Seth101 (Comment 21) : That man should be shot on sight trying to put on a Bok jersey…even if it is at Totalsports…

  • Comment 23, posted at 10.06.15 11:03:40 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Zibbie (Comment 22) : I cant see HM taking the gamble on any Lions props bar Redelinghuis to be honest. They are kind of next in line after the RWC if they stick around. Kriel,Whitely, Mapoe however…but will wait for those story threads

  • Comment 24, posted at 10.06.15 11:05:55 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 24) : been listening to the excuses for 4 years now . know them by hart . Kriel is to small , wont be selected . Whitley . you have vermeulen and spies and who ever else you like . Whitely might carry tackle bags but then he would have been better off just playing CC . Mapoe you have serfontein and jpp and sbaru and de allende and and and 😛 mapoe wont be picked .

  • Comment 25, posted at 10.06.15 11:15:53 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 25) : Look its hard to argue with you…i think Kriel may lose out on a numbers game. Possibly same with Whitely although the Boks lack players that bring something different to the party should the big bash not work. Mapoe for me can cover 11,12,13,14…big and strong and quick (HM keywords). Same would apply to Combrink- and he offers the long distance kick option

  • Comment 26, posted at 10.06.15 11:45:50 by SheldonK Reply

  • @SheldonK (Comment 26) : will be interesting to see which centers HM picks . Still dont think he will favor any Lions players . But maybe he will surprise me

  • Comment 27, posted at 10.06.15 11:55:20 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 27) : If JDV can walk he will go, as will Serfontein and DeAllende. Think JPP will go as covers wing too. I think he will pick 4 centres so toss up over 1 position perhaps…unless he picks guys that can play centre and wing such as Mapoe and JDJ. My bolter would be Francois Venter…

  • Comment 28, posted at 10.06.15 12:16:17 by SheldonK Reply

  • @Zibbie (Comment 27) : Shouldn’t bother you which would you rather have a rwc pool stages knockout or a CC final. Personally I would have loved it if the sharks lost less men to bok duty. This year with bissie Willie and Jannie leaving anyways we didn’t lose as much. Just need to sort out the SR loan players so we can have same team play cc as SR. Continuity is terrible due to Sr and cc different players.

  • Comment 29, posted at 10.06.15 12:31:25 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 29) : the problem is if players dont get noticed at the Lions they will go elsewhere .

  • Comment 30, posted at 10.06.15 12:33:36 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 30) : i hear Durbs is quite nice this time of the year…. 😉

  • Comment 31, posted at 10.06.15 13:25:13 by SheldonK Reply

  • My quick opinion on Kitshoff, Malherbe and Redelinghuys….if they played against Franks and Crocket in Superrugby, then they surely must be suited to make it through a World Cup against them

  • Comment 32, posted at 10.06.15 13:59:19 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • @JustPlainSHARK (Comment 32) : Yup

  • Comment 33, posted at 10.06.15 16:08:04 by coolfusion Reply

  • I agree tht experience is valuable, however i find it to be amazing that in 4 yrs HM hasnt groomed two understudies for jannie who is losing his ability at a alarming rate, I use to spend many a weekend defending him from from supporters of other unions who just wanted to take a dig at him, and i ddnt mind cause their accusations were unfounded, then. Now however, especially since the last world cup his been living on reputation. I understand that the guys meant to take over have had a rough time also, HM’s first choose to take over: frans malherbe has had injury issue bt is now showing form agn. Marcel from the bulls has also been injured, trevor has looked good all SR on both sides of the scrum for the bulls, his actually been there best front ranker and looks to hav finally put his discipline issues behind him (his a young guy, cut him some slack). Then theres vincent koch, flippin wow, the guy looked decent for the pumas whn i watchd their games in the vodacom cup and cc last season, his been a revelation in sr for the stormers this season. Good for wp for spotting his potential, i wish we had gotten him. So for rwc id take frans, jannie, trevor at tight head, with koch as first back up. I would play jannie at all in the game agnst the world 15, and id play him sparingly in the RC, Id give young guys like trevor, koch, coanie lots of game time in the RC to test their mantel and prepare them for possible wc duty. Also frans wud b my first choose TH in the wc with the experience of jannie on the bench for last 20min

  • Comment 34, posted at 10.06.15 19:37:18 by revolverocelot Reply

  • @Zibbie (Comment 25) : Noooooo not Pierre Spies!!!!

  • Comment 35, posted at 10.06.15 22:27:43 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • @Zibbie (Comment 25) : Please, please, please no Spies!!

  • Comment 36, posted at 10.06.15 22:28:23 by pastorshark Reply
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  • Vincent Koch & Thomas Du Toit maybe bolters or ones for the future…

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.06.15 13:12:58 by Alan Morrissey Reply


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