Springbok Barometer: Best Springbok XV on current form
2019 is very important for the Springboks with regards to the Rugby World Cup being in the latter part of the year.
The Boks are building on a squad for the World Cup, but they also need to pick a squad that is good enough to challenge for the Rugby Championship starting in July.
The players in Europe have certainly made a statement to the Springboks coach, Rassie Erasmus, with some exceptional performances by players in the Premiership, Pro14 and French Top 14.
The South African Super Rugby teams have been slightly inconsistent in the competition, but their have been a lot of individual performances that Erasmus would have taken notice of.
Let us have a look at the best XV players that can be selected for the Springboks.
1. Lizo Gqoboka (Vodacom Bulls) - 226m gained, 45 runs, 4 clean breaks
Gqoboka has been in excellent form for the Bulls upfront and relishes to carry the ball. He loves the contact situation. He has been one of the in-form props in the whole competition and not just in South Africa.
2. Malcolm Marx (Emirates Lions) - 3 tries, 368m gained, 66 runs, 6 clean breaks
Marx is arguably the best hooker in the world currently; he has been devastating at the breakdown and with the ball in hand. If there is an area that Marx requires some more practice, it's his accuracy during line-out throws.
3. Wilco Louw (DHL Stormers): 8 scrum penalties,91 % TSR, 9 scrums won
The tight-head prop area has always been a headache for the Springboks; the Boks have always been blessed with quality loose-head props rather than tight heads. Wilco Louw has been looking to change that the last couple of seasons with exceptional work in the scrums.
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Stormers): 50m gained, 6 defenders beaten, 27 tackles
The locks have not really put their hands up this season, but if there is one player that always shows up for a game and gives 110% for his team, it's Etzebeth.
Eben has a reputation to always put in the hard yards and carriers the ball with immense strength. His work in the line-outs does not go unnoticed; he is exceptional at reading the opposition's line-out tactics.
5. RG Snyman (Vodacom Bulls): 55m gained, 3 clean breaks, 3 offloads
RG Snyman has been a stalwart for the Bulls in the last couple of seasons, he has just returned after an injury layoff.
Snyman showed his class in Round 9 for the Bulls vs the Reds, his offloads and ball carrying were simply magnificent and there is a lot more to come from him in the remainder of the season.
6. Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester): 103 tackles, 6 tries, 22 defenders beaten, 94% TSR
Ackermann has the highest tackle success ratio (94%) in the Premiership this season, his ruthlessness in attack and defence cannot be overlooked.
Ackermann and Kriel have arguably been the best loose forward pairing in the Premiership season.
7. Jaco Kriel (Gloucester): 84 tackles, 23 defenders beaten, 266m gained
Jaco Kriel has always been a workhorse for whichever team he represents, his work at the breakdown is unmatched again this season in the Premiership. Kriel has always been an unsung hero in South-African rugby.
8. Dan Du Preez (Cell C Sharks): 4 tries, 19 defenders beaten, 11 offloads, 58 tackles
Du Preez has been influential in the Sharks' success in the first 9 rounds of Super Rugby. His ability to create gaps for his teammates and then offload the ball has been terrific, he has also finished four times himself this season.
9.Cobus Reinach (Northampton): 11 tries, 22 clean breaks, 42 defenders beaten
Reinach has been the best scrumhalf in the Premiership this season as well as one of the best attacking weapons for Northampton. He is among the top try scorers in this years' Premiership.
10. Handre Pollard (Vodacom Bulls): 55 tackles, 5 try assists, 84% goal-kicking success
Pollard is the full package when it comes to an international Fly-half; he is a sharpshooter when kicking for goal, likes to attack the gain-line and has a 83% TSR in 2019.
11. Rabz Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs): 14 tries, 1039m gained, 34 clean breaks
Maxwane is the top try scorer and has gained the most meters in the Pro 14 competition this season. His pace and ability to break the defense line has been unmatched during this campaign.
12. Francois Venter (Worcester Warriors): 148 tackles, 571m gained, 20 offloads
Venter has been one of the best defensive players in the Premiership; he has also been included in a few Challagher Premiership best XV of the week lineups. His offloading ability during the competition has been praised by many opposition coaches during the season.
13. Jesse Kriel (Vodacom Bulls): 4 tries, 11 clean breaks, 13 defenders beaten, 66 tackles made
Kriel has been one of the reasons that the men from Loftus might be a force to reckon with this Super Rugby season. His running lines, the ability to break the defense line and positional play on defence have been terrific.
14. Mak Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks): 4 tries, 14 clean breaks, 17 defenders beaten, 462m gained
Mak has been unstoppable for the Sharks on the wing and has caused havoc to many opposition back-lines during the campaign. The team from Durban hopes that Mapimpi continues his form against the Reds in round 10.
15. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse): 11 tries, 931m gained, 8 offloads, 60 tackles
Kolbe has arguably been the South African player of the year abroad; he has been sublime whether playing in the wing on fullback position this season.
Players on the fringe:
- Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Sale Sharks)
- Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks)
- Burger Odendaal (Vodacom Bulls)
- Joseph Dweba (Toyota Cheetahs)
- Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers)
- Cobus Wiese (DHL Stormers)
Rassie Erasmus will have a difficult task to choose his squad for the Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup.
South African players are getting noticed with good performances for their respective teams abroad, these are just some of the dilemmas the coach will have when choosing his squad.
Erasmus also needs to look at the SA Rugby guidelines with regards to players of color being included as well as whether players playing within the country will be preferred.
Note: This team selection was based on stats and performance.