Shaun Goosen takes a look at 3 players who could earn surprise call-ups for the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour.
Ahead of the first Springbok squad announcement of the year on Saturday, we take a look at three players who may have forced their way into Jacques Nienaber’s plans from unlikely situations.
Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers)
Since trading Cheetah spots for Tiger stripes, Wiese has been in illuminating form at the base of the scrum and looks a shoo-in to become a Springbok this year. The 25-year-old has been titanic for Leicester in a season that has seen them finish as European Challenge Cup runners-up and continue their upward trajectory in the Premiership. His barnstorming runs and immense defensive physicality have made him difficult to ignore and he could well earn a debut against Georgia in the build-up to the British & Irish Lions series.
While the combo of Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen are likely to remain the No 1 loose trio for the Boks against the Lions, Wiese’s style of play could suit the Boks nicely off the bench.
Jan Serfontein (Montpellier)
The injury-prone former U20 Player of the Year hasn’t played a Test match since 2017 but that could be about to change after another splendid season in the south of France. Serfontein, who played an integral role in Montpellier’s mid-season turnaround and started the Challenge Cup final win in May, has a wealth of experience to call upon and will be a strong candidate for a place in the squad of 45 set to be named.
The likes of Luckhanyo Am, Damian de Allende and Frans Steyn will still be seen as first-choice, but Serfontein’s special talent should see him make a welcome return to the national fold.
Rosko Specman (Cheetahs/ Stormers)
One of the most consistent and professional players in the local game, Specmagic is widely expected to become a new name in Nienaber’s side after another strong campaign with the Cheetahs. Now on loan with the Stormers, the 32-year-old would bring plenty of value from all his years in the Blitzbok setup, not to mention searing pace and a work rate second to none.
A certainty for the SA A side, Specman is thoroughly deserving of a place in the senior squad and could be another set to debut against Georgia.