Pick Bok players on form, says Lions coach

Pick the players who have shown good Currie Cup form. That’s Eugene Eloff’s message to the national rugby selectors who will announce their Springbok team for the end-of-year tour to Wales, Scotland and England, on the evening of October 25, following the Absa Currie Cup final.

“The one thing I would like see happening with the Springboks’ end-of-the year tour is the selectors reward players for performing in the Currie Cup,” said the Lions’ coach.

“We know who the star players are and who will play in next year’s Tri-Nations, so give the senior players a break, especially those who have played in all the matches [this year].

“Let’s pick some young blood. This country is full of young talent and there are many young players putting their hands up.”

There are several uncapped [Test] players from the ranks of the Lions who have caught the eye this season.
Eloff said prop Heinke van der Merwe, hooker Willie Wepener, loose forward Cobus Grobbelaar, fullback Louis Ludik and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, were the ones to watch.

“I know the nation and the supporters wants the Springboks to win all the time, but sometimes you have to lose to win,” said Eloff. “Why blood players in the Tri-Nations when it’s far easier to do that against so-called weaker nations.”

One Lions player who has made an impact in recent games is flyhalf Earl Rose, but Eloff says the pivot needed more time before he could make the jump to the Springbok side.

“We saw what happened to Chliiboy [Ralepelle],” said Eloff. “He was the best hooker in the world [in his age-group] but he’s talent had to be nurtured.

“Earl needs to play one or two more seasons. It’s all about timing in his case and he should not be pushed too hard, too soon.” - Sapa

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