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Tuesday Jun 21, 2022

Evan Roos The Next Great Springbok Loose Forward?

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Having just won the inaugural United Rugby Championship Grand Final, Stormers superstar Evan Roos has found himself included in the Springbok set-up for the first.

In season jam packed with world class backrow play from around the globe, Roos was one of the standout performers alongside Ireland’s Josh van der Flier and France’s Gregory Alldritt.

Aptly compared to Springbok incumbent Duane Vermeulen, Roos has an uncompromising nature about him that has certainly added an edge to a talented Stormers pack.

The comparison to Vermeulen whilst apt does not tell the full story of just what Roos brings to the game.

Regularly found in the wide channels, he has incredible pace and footwork for such a big man whilst also possessing a high-level passing game.

Thinking back to players of yesteryear such as Bob Skinstad, Jamie Heaslip and Zinzan Brooke who were utterly magnificent as attacking threats, Roos shows traits comparable to all of them.

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All of the physical tools are there and evident, but it is the mental side of the game where the twenty-two-year-old appears to be the most ready for test match rugby.

That rugged edge and uncompromising element will be crucial when taking on ferocious test packs such as the French, All Blacks, Argentineans and English to name a few.

In this respect the most obvious like for like would be former Springbok enforcer Bakkies Botha who revelled in getting stuck into the opposition both physically and mentally.

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Of course, this can be a double-edged sword with World Rugby rightly cracking down on foul play in the name of player safety. Roos for his part has shown at times a propensity to let off the ball incidents overtake the important side of the game.

A fine line will need to drawn for Roos to ensure that he does not cost his side at key moments. This would however appear to be a manageable trait which has so far been thoroughly outweighed by his impressive body of work to date.

One thing is certain, Roos will be immensely exciting to watch at test level. For Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber he now has the enviable task selecting just three loose forwards to start from a pool of close to fifteen international standard options.

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