British & Irish Lions tour: Snubbed Springbok XV

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New Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber announced his first squad, a 46-man group entrusted to defend the honour of the country against the British & Irish Lions.

There were few shock inclusions in the squad, but also a number of omissions that many Springbok fans would feel the players in question were hard done by.

So what would a whole XV of snubbed Springboks for the British & Irish Lions Tour look like?

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Well, we gave it a try. Check it out below!

READ: BRITISH & IRISH LIONS: JAKE WHITE BACKS ‘WINNER’ MORNE STEYN FOR SHOCK SELECTION

1. Lizo Gqoboka

“Umfundisi” as the mobile Bulls loosehead prop is affectionately known as, is a name many South Africans had been calling for, In terms of an inclusion into this Springbok squad, for weeks now. Therefore, the outcry at his omission was hardly a surprise, as although Gqoboka has battled with injury recently, he has looked at his best whenever he has played. Coincidently his omission from the British & Irish Lions tour is reportedly due to another injury he would’ve picked up against the Lions two weeks ago.

2. Akker van der Merwe

The stocky yet extremely aggressive hooker must be left wondering what exactly he needs to do in order to get into this Springbok setup. After being in terrific form for the Sharks back in 2019, producing the type of form many would’ve had him written down at least in pencil for World Cup spot, found himself snubbed for veteran Schalk Brits would then go on to prove his own weight in Gold.

Having continued his fine form at Sale Sharks, it was again, largely believed that he would at least make the side this time around, has again been left out in favour of Scarra Ntubeni and Joseph Dweba. So unfortunately there will be no reunion with his brother Duhan who is selected for the British & Irish Lions side

3. Carlu Sadie

The Lions tighthead has seemingly come of age this year, and his displays alongside another young prop who put his hand up, in Sti Sithole, made the masses wonder if he had maybe played himself into the Nienaber’s Springbok plans. In the end, it didn’t prove to be the case, but again not all is lost, as he could still get a call should the group be extended even further to form the SA ‘A’ side. If he keeps up his form for the Lions, missing out on the British & Irish Lions Tour side could be the last one he misses.

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4. Jason Jenkins

The former Bulls man, returned to the country last year in the hope of playing himself into a potential Rugby Championships Springbok squad, but when the Springboks pulled out, he swiftly returned to Japan. The one-time Springbok has since signed for Munster and will be looking to go back to the drawing board to see how he can convince Nienaber’s regime for future call ups

5. Ruan Nortje

The lanky Bulls lock formed a solid second-row partner with Jenkins for the Pretoria outfit last year, and since Jenkins left, he has continued to grow from strength to strength. The Bulls are known to be lock producing factory and for a while, it looked like they may have unearthed yet another Springbok. This British & Irish Lions Tour seems to have come too soon for Nortje though, but with age still on his side, there is still plenty of hope yet for the 23-year olds international career.

6. Marcell Coetzee

People may have had to refresh their phone screens and rewind their television sets when they found out that, they had missed Coetzee’s name. however, you can’t miss something that wasn’t there and Coetzee’s Springbok omission will undoubtedly go down as the biggest snub for this British & Irish Lions Tour, especially with the form he showed for Ulster before injury and his encouraging two-try debut for the Bulls last on Friday evening

7. Vincent Tshituka

The Lions blindside flanker has been an absolute menace since the start of this year. Tshituka had a promising burst on to the scene as far as 2019 for the Lions Currie Cup side, and many were expecting him to put pressure on the Springboks in the not too distant future. An injury seemed to derail his progress but luckily for him, his rehabilitation period coincided with the lockdown. He has since been locking down opponents himself on the field, with his ferocious defensive, and abrasive attack being the two attributes many thought would earn the DRC-born player Springbok colours. However, it proved not to be

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8. Elrigh Louw

A Springbok in the making, regardless. Louw returned from his injury in perhaps the only way he knows how. He has played like a man possessed in this Rainbow Cup, showing exactly why Jake White was so eager to snatch him away from the Southern Kings and bring him to Loftus. He would be disappointed not to be in the squad but can take solace from his recent form and the fact that he still has age on his side

9. Jaden Hendrikse

The current Sharks first-choice scrumhalf was thought to be the outright contender for the fourth scrumhalf in the squad, be he missed out in the end. Hendrikse has continued to grow in leaps and bounds in the senior ranks this year and slowly started to display the type of form that had him award SA Rugby young player of the year.

10. Curwin Bosch

It all looked so promising for a man who was touted as one of South African rugby’s most exciting prospects after stellar 2014 and 2015 Craven Weeks. His promotion to the Sharks senior ranks didn’t take that long either but has so far struggled with consistency. Capped as far back as 2018 the Gqeberha-born youngster has yet to convince the new Springbok regime that he is worth another go.

It all looked so rosy for him again, until a disastrous kicking display in the Currie Cup final against the Bulls. He doesn’t look like he recovered his confidence since.

11. Edwill van der Merwe

The twinkle-toed winger has been somewhat of a revelation for the Stormers in the current Rainbow Cup with his string of performances on the left-wing, convincing many that he was now an outside contender for Springbok selection. It proved to be a bridge too far, however, but in the end, he surely got closer to the British & Irish Lions Tour than he would’ve initially expected

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12. Andre Esterhuizen

Possibly the second biggest snub on the list, Esterhuizen might even be forgiven for feeling like there might be an agenda against him at this point. He was very unlucky to miss out on the World Cup squad and had been playing like a man on a mission ever since. He has been in superb knick since moving abroad and many had him as a certainty for the Springboks against the British & Irish Lions but in the end, it wasn’t to be

13. Cornal Hendricks

Rumoured to have missed out due to personal matters with SARU, it is massive shame that the country’s reigning player of the year, who has been in red hot form for a year now, has been denied a very tale Springbok return because of off-field issues. Hendricks has successfully rebranded himself into a lethal centre, and not one players would relish standing in front of, ask Pieter-Steph du Toit 

14. Raymond Rhule

Although also successfully rebranded to a centre, out in France Rhule finds himself accommodated as a wing on this list due to the make-up of its members. A player whose game has grown in leaps and bounds since leaving South Africa, many already written his name down in pencil ahead of the British & Irish Lions Tour. Being nominated for a massive European award was expected to boost his chance but in the end, the was no Springbok return for him

15. Dillyn Leyds

Leyds has also been in fantastic form since leaving the country. It was thought that, with Warrick Gelant out injured, that the former Stormer would have the opportunity to replace the man who replaced him at union level, but it has proven not to be.

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