The Springboks named a largely unchanged side for the clash against the Wallabies this weekend, both teams go into this game coming off losses to their Rugby Championship counterparts, the All Blacks and Los Pumas. The Springboks will thus look to redeem themselves after falling at the hands of their great rival against another old foe. There are players who will personally want to show they belong or still belong in the conversation as far as Springbok selection is concerned, Bet Central explores 5 players who should come out with fire in their belly at the Adelaide Oval.
Amongst the many players who underperformed against the All Blacks at Emirates Airline Park, the new Stormers hooker was probably the one who copped the most stick, this is because the Springboks are largely reliant on the set-piece being efficient to execute their gameplan.
Joseph Dweba gets another chance this week against the Wallabies to prove he can bring the set-piece proficiency that the Springboks need from their 3rd hooker going into a World Cup year next year.
He should perhaps take heart from his opposite number in the previous Test, Samisoni Taukei’aho, who despite lineout struggles early on in his All Black career improved and propelled himself to the front of the queue at hooker. Dweba should put in an improved performance in Adelaide.
A hero for the Boks in yesteryear, but seemingly a stumbling block for the emerging talents at 8thman for the Springboks now. Duane Vermeulen seems to retain the favour of his coaches, but those outside the camp seem to think maybe he is standing in the way of Jasper Wiese who has been colossal for the Springboks and delaying the progress of new Boks, Evan Roos and Elrigh Louw.
His performance against the All Blacks in Johannesburg did him no favours, he played only the 1st half and Wiese came on and was an improvement on the veteran. It would be irresponsible to look past the fact that the Ulster man recently had surgery and at his age, should be undercooked after such a procedure.
This weekend, however, he should roll back the years and channel a classic Duane Vermeulen performance which pretty much entails him having a hand in everything good that happens for the Boks. He may be ageing, but as seen in the United Rugby Championship he still has a lot to offer, the Springbok hardman just needs to bring it in the Bok jersey.
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Another player who is far from his lofty standards at the moment and perhaps a player whose average performances have been overshadowed by the fact that Springboks won the series against Wales and the 1st Test against the All Blacks in Mbombela.
He has by no means been bad, but part of why the Springboks have been so dominant is because of du Toit’s massive engine and work in the tight-loose and he will be disappointed with some of his recent displays.
Having already adapted to blindside flank and not only done that but also thriving to the point that he was crowned the world’s best. He can be a dominant force and his coaches will be hoping to see more of that fire as they look for their 1st win in Australia in 9 years.
Warrick Gelant was in imperious form for the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship, probably the best of his career, but thus far he has played a minimal role for the Springboks in what looked like it could be the year he finally arrives as an international player.
Instead, Damian Willemse has gone ahead of him in the pecking order, but he gets a chance on the wing this weekend in the strongest Springboks side available – something that has never really happened for him in the Rassie Erasmus/Jacques Nienaber era.
Gelant has always had to play in the hastily assembled 2nd string team that had little to no team chemistry, this weekend he runs with the 1st choice gang and it could be the shot in the arm his Bok career needs. He will be determined to prove his worth.
I doubt there is a player who has been criticised as much as Elton Jantjies in the Springbok jersey in the last 10 years or so, he has rightly been crucified at times after simply not being up to standard and the 1st Test against Wales was one such occasion. He produced a horrid showing and was yanked off at the interval.
All of that being said, he was thrust into the Springbok starting XV having played less than 80 minutes of rugby in 2022 and will benefit from more game time off the bench later in the game. The situation is suitable for the Lions’ flyhalf because he is more suited to an open game which will be the case if he comes on in the 2nd half and he will get some much-needed minutes under his belt.
Expect him to come out firing when he comes for his 46th Test as he edges ever closer to a half-century of caps.