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Monday May 13, 2024

Three European based players who should make their Springbok debut in 2024

It’s a new dawn and a new day for the reigning Rugby World Cup champions, Springboks, as the test season comes into sharp focus.

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Not one to rest on his laurels, Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus has already held several ‘alignment camps’ to ensure potential Springbok players understand what is expected of them if they are to feature for the national side.

Combining experienced veterans with talented youngsters has been a real strength of Erasmus over the years, and 2024 will be no exception.

Selecting players from a seemingly bottomless talent pool, Erasmus and his coach colleagues will not be short of options when they travel to Twickenham to face Wales before hosting Ireland in a two-test series.

The ultimate uncapped Investec Champions Cup XV

However, as ever with any successful squad, the Boks have seen several of their key contributors retire whilst others are firmly on the back nine of their careers. Whilst there is no doubt there is an abundance of local-based players to pick from, Erasmus has shown a propensity to pick players playing abroad not only for their ability but also for the intel they can bring to the set-up.

With this in mind, here are three foreign-based players who should feature in the green jersey in 2024.

Juarno Augustus – Northampton Saints

The former Stormers and Western Province player faces arguably the biggest challenge of cracking the Boks of the three players on our list. On pure talent alone, Augustus is a test player. With his exceptional rugby intellect and unrelenting physicality, he is a throwback bruiser of a backrow with a clear seek-and-destroy mindset. The biggest obstacle for the 26-year-old is the truly ridiculous strength in depth available to the Boks in the backrow. To crack a Bok squad Augustus will be competing with the likes of Jasper Wiese (28), Elrigh Louw (24), Evan Roos (24), Vincent Tshituka (25), Cameron Hanekom (22), Francke Horn (24), JC Pretorius (26), Pieter-Steph Du Toit (31), Phepsi Buthelezi (24), Siya Kolisi (32 – when back from injury) and several others. Working in Augustus’s favour, however, is the fact that he is in red-hot form in one of the top clubs in Europe who have just played in a Champions Cup semi-final and are odds-on favourites to win the Gallagher Premiership. As the saying goes, to be the best, you need to beat the best, and the Saints man will certainly have earned his place if he goes on to make his debut in 2024.

Carlu Sadie – Bordeaux-Begles

One of South African Rugby’s forgotten men, the 140kg prop, has been tearing up trees for one of the top sides in the Top 14. Facing world-class talent on a weekly basis, Sadie, alongside Tongan international Ben Tameifuna, has become one of the most feared combinations in the most competitive domestic league in the world. Having played for the Stormers, Lions and Sharks during his time in South Africa, Sadie grew into a regular starter before departing for Bordeaux. Since his move, the versatile front ranker has gone to another level, looks to be hitting his best form and is still just 27 years old. Given the age profile of the Boks World Cup-winning front-row options, the elevation of Sadie and Bath’s Thomas Du Toit (29) is a major boost to add so much-needed depth.

Tyrone Green

At the risk of being lost to England when he becomes eligible later this year, the former Leopards and Lions back have become one of the most exciting fullbacks in European Rugby for a scintilating Harlequins outfit. Given his stock as a former U20 Springbok and his form for one of the top clubs in the Premiership, Green is almost certainly already on Erasmus’s radar. Earning comparisons to a younger Willie Le Roux, Green is a fantastic link player but is more powerful than the Bok veteran as a strike runner. Depending on which direction Erasmus goes with Damian Willemse (centre or fullback), Green appears ready to step up as either a versatile bench option or a starting fullback immediately.

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