The Springboks have mixed the great with the mediocre so far this year, but here are three forward players who have consistently shot the lights out.
The best hooker in the game right now, Marx produced an all-time great performance in the first Test against the All Blacks, making a tournament record-equalling five turnovers. While many continue to question his perennial place on the bench, the Bok coaching staff have highlighted the fact that his attributes make him perfectly suited to the final quarter or so of a Test match when the game opens up. However, with the injury to Bongi Mbonambi and the indifferent display by Joseph Dweba at Ellis Park, Marx is expected to be the man to start in the No 2 jersey for the majority of the rest of the Championship.
Against a far looser Wallaby team, expect the former Lions man to put in some proper mileage.
With a natural ability to play the kind of abrasive, physical game so central to everything the Boks do, Wiese has become an important member of Jacques Nienaber’s squads since his debut against Georgia last year. The Leicester Tiger is consistently one of the side’s top tacklers and is incredibly effective at doing the dirty work for the world champions.
Duane Vermuelen is likely to reclaim the starting eighthman berth against the Wallabies over the next fortnight but expect the 26-year-old Wiese to make waves whenever he is introduced off the bench.
The URC champion has been as good as ever in 2022, becoming a Bok half-centurion in the defeat to the All Blacks in Johannesburg. Despite not often making lists like this, there’s no question that Malherbe remains one of the Springboks’ finest players and his role as the side’s second defensive captain underlines the fact that his importance doesn’t lie solely at the set piece.
Coming up against Australia, Malherbe’s ability to dominate the scrum battle and keep South Africa on the front foot will be key in shutting down their backline threats.