Huge excitement exists ahead of local rugby kicking off next weekend, with SA Rugby set to announce a large squad of 60 players on Saturday for the 3 October "Springbok Showdown" at Newlands which will see a Gold team take on a Green team. But first up next weekend is the "Super Fan Saturday" which will officially mark local rugby's return, following the suspension of rugby due to Covid-19, while the new local competition over 14 rounds will start on 10 October. Several World Cup-winning stars will be keen to catch the eye of Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, while the...
Huge excitement exists ahead of local rugby kicking off next weekend, with SA Rugby set to announce a large squad of 60 players on Saturday for the 3 October "Springbok Showdown" at Newlands which will see a Gold team take on a Green team.

But first up next weekend is the "Super Fan Saturday" which will officially mark local rugby's return, following the suspension of rugby due to Covid-19, while the new local competition over 14 rounds will start on 10 October.

Several World Cup-winning stars will be keen to catch the eye of Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber, while the new domestic competition will provide a stage for a few rookie players to put up their hands and make their mark.

Five World Cup Boks on a mission

Steven Kitshoff (loosehead prop, Stormers): The experienced Bok prop and occasional Stormers captain's role has become even bigger now that veteran Beast Mtawarira has called it a day and having now recovered from a chest injury he gets his chance to get the motor running again after the long layoff.

Makazole Mapimpi (leftwing, Sharks): The Durban flyer and deadly finisher had the world at his feet after scoring the first Bok try in a World Cup final, but he will now be keen to stay on top of his game ahead of the Rugby Championship. He'll be a key Bok for next year's visit by the British and Irish Lions.

We can't wait to see these World Cup winners (and a few rookies) back in action!


Makazole Mapimpi of the Cell C Sharks in training in Durban this week. Picture: Getty Images

Elton Jantjies (flyhalf, Lions): The Lions captain is tipped to step into the injured Handre Pollard's shoes and he has always had the backing of Rassie Erasmus and, in his own words, has nothing left to prove, but a sound performance in the next few weeks could cement his place in the Bok side for a potential Championship challenge.

Lukhanyo Am (centre, Sharks): One would like to believe the sky is the limit after Am enjoyed a great World Cup and followed that up by leading the Sharks to a wonderful Super Rugby start (before Covid hit). He has also been tipped as a potential Bok skipper, as back-up to Siya Kolisi.

Duane Vermeulen (eighthman, Bulls): After his sterling performance in the World Cup final which earned him the Man of the Match award, he has now been entrusted with the Bulls captaincy to drive Jake White's vision for the team and next weekend could be the start of something really big for the towering No 8.

Five Rookies to watch out for:

Aphelele Fassi (fullback, Sharks): The youngster showcased in Super Rugby earlier this year why he could have been a Bok already had it not been for the lockdown. He has everything and more; from pace to defence, and vision and skill, and he'll hopefully continue his strong rise in South African rugby.

Wandisile Simelane (centre, Lions): Having lost his place in the Lions team earlier this year due to pre-season niggles, Simelane is on Rassie Erasmus' radar which is a sign of how highly rated the former Junior Bok star is, and with his incredible pace he could even be used out on the wing.

We can't wait to see these World Cup winners (and a few rookies) back in action!


The Lions' Wandisile Simelane will be keen to make an impression in the next few months. Picture: Getty Images

Juarno Augustus (eighthman, Stormers): The powerful try the No 8 scored at Ellis Park against the Lions earlier this season is a prime example how destructive the former Junior Bok star can be, and should he remain injury-free for once he could set the scene alight and move into the Bok framework.

Aidon Davis (flank, Cheetahs): The former Kings player returned from playing overseas for Toulon and Bayonne two years ago, but then had to recover from a cancer scare and a broken leg in February, but now the former Junior Bok player is set to take the local competition by storm. Expect big things.

Dawid Kellerman (centre, Bulls): The powerful 96-kg midfielder is seen as one of the brightest talents to come through and the 20-year-old former Paarl Gym pupil was set to form part of the SA U20 team before the Junior World Championships were called off. He is highly rated by his coach, Jake White.

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