Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Potential Bok Bolters: Gallagher Premiership

Potential Bok Bolters: Gallagher Premiership

Jean-Luc du Preez

In the first of a four-part miniseries, we take a look at several South African bolters currently playing in the Gallagher Premiership who could force their way into Jacques Nienaber’s Springbok plans ahead of the upcoming British & Irish Lions Test series. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The selections will draw from the Gallagher Premiership, the Top 14, the Pro14 and the past South African domestic rugby season.

Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Sale Sharks)

After a torrid run of injuries, the 26-year-old former Lion has been tearing it up for the Sale Sharks in the Premiership. Janse van Rensburg has always been renowned for his beastly physicality and ability to dominate the gainline, but it’s the subtlety he’s added to his game that has really attracted attention. He’s lost 15kg since his Premiership debut in 2017 and it’s really showing, with the midfielder more involved than ever on defence.

His competition: Incumbent Bok centre pairing Damian de Allende and Lucky Am, plus fellow World Cup winners Frans Steyn and Jesse Kriel will all be favourites to reclaim their places in Nienaber’s squad. The likes of AndrĂ© Esterhuizen, Wandisile Simelane and Cornal Hendricks could also come into consideration.

Past Bok experience: Janse van Rensburg debuted for the Boks against the Barbarians in 2016 and scored a late try in a 31-all draw at Wembley. His only Test cap came in the 27-13 loss to Wales in Cardiff three weeks later.

His chances: As good as he’s been, Janse van Rensburg is unlikely to get another national call-up unless a serious string of injuries curtails the involvements of the tried and tested.

Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Rohan Janse van Rensburg is in with an outside sniff of forcing his way into the squad.

Jean-Luc du Preez (Sale Sharks)

Once a Bok regular, du Preez hasn’t played a Test match since the third game of the 2018 England incoming series. Before his departure, Sale boss Steve Diamond often deployed the loose forward in the second row, and that newfound versatility could count in his favour with regards to a national call up. 

His competition: Physicality has always been his strength. Depending on where he’s picked, his most probable competition would be World Cup winners Pieter-Steph du Toit, Duane Vermeulen, Eben Etzebeth and RG Snyman. Eish.

Past Bok experience: Having debuted under Allister Coetzee, and with 13-Test caps to his name, du Preez is no stranger to the demands of international footy.

His chances: Depending on where the Bok coaches want to see him playing, du Preez has a host of competition across both the back and second rows. However, with Snyman, Sale teammate Lood de Jager and du Toit under injury clouds, don’t be a comeback isn’t totally out of the question.

Jean-Luc du Preez
Jean-Luc du Preez could force his way into Nienaber's plans with a number of World Cup-winning second rowers battling injury. 

André Esterhuizen (Harlequins)

A centre in the same mould as Janse van Rensburg, Esterhuizen has the advantage of at least having played for the Boks in the Rassie Erasmus era. Weighing in at 115kg and standing 1.94m tall, the former Shark, who’s said to be earning £340 000 (R6.4 million) at Quins, is another rampaging midfield option who’d add value to any squad. Unfortunately for him, the Boks ain’t exactly lacking in centre options.

His competition: The same as Janse van Rensburg, though he may be closer in line than the Sale man.

Past Bok experience: Esterhuizen debuted in Erasmus’ first Bok assignment against Wales in Washington in 2018. He went on to play a further seven Tests, the last of which came against Argentina a year later.

His chances: Esterhuizen needs to hit a Premiership purple patch of note if he’s to upset the status quo at the Boks. That said, injuries may yet have a say.

Andre Esterhuizen
Esterhuizen has played under Rassie Erasmus for the Boks, but may have to show more at Quins to break into the national side again. 

Written by Shaun Goosen. 

Images: Steve Haag Sports.

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