There has been very little rugby played in 2020 and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. Nonetheless, what little rugby we have enjoyed since the conclusion of the 2019 World Cup has seen a number of young players prove themselves worthy of consideration for national selection. The following are five players we’ve identified as likely candidates to don the green and gold.
Tyrone Green – utility back
After suffering crushing defeats in the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby finals, the Lions have struggled for form and were languishing in thirteenth when Super Rugby was suspended. Tyrone Green has, however, been a stand out performer. Green has looked powerful on the attack and his utility could make him a valuable asset on the bench while South African enjoys a golden age on the wings with Kolbe and Mapimpi.
Joseph Dweba – hooker
With Schalk Brits calling it quits on his international career for a second time, a spot has opened up for a second hooker in the Springbok squad. Joseph Dweba could just be that man. Although Dweba’s Cheetahs did not compete in this year’s Super Rugby tournament, the 24-year-old shone in the Free State’s Pro 14 bid. During the 2019-20 Pro 14 season, Dweba scored 7 tries, a tally only bettered by Leinster fullback Dave Kearney and fellow teammate Rhyno Smith.
Dweba’s has, however, recently penned a deal to play for French club Bordeaux-Begles, a deal which would have seen the 24-year-old move over to Europe later this year. It’s unclear if this move will still occur considering the state of the world and what effect it will have on his Springbok prospects it does.
Juanro Augustus – number 8
Often touted as one of South Africa’s most electric youngsters, Augustus shrugged off an injury in 2019 coming back better than ever. Although he would be an easy pick on almost any national team, the South African number 8 position is a competitive one. With the likes of Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Marcel Coetzee, and the World Cup winning Duane Vermeulen all in the running, Augustus will need to continue to show good form to have any chance of starting.
James Venter – flanker
Not only is James Venter one of the most exciting uncapped Springbok hopefuls, the retirement of Fancois Louw all but opens up a position for the 23-year-old.
Venter has been one of the stand-out performers of the Sharks dominate 2020 Super Rugby performance that saw the men from Durban top the log before all future games were postponed. The 23-year-old has proven himself solid on defence making more tackles than any other blindside flanker and is just as capable with ball in hand.
Aphelele Fassi – fullback
Over the Sharks dominate 7-game 2020 Super Rugby season, Aphelele Fassi starred. The fullback was a prolific tackle buster, clocked the second-most running meters in the tournament, and scored three tries. When you include his reliability under the high ball, Fassi becomes a natural successor to the mercurial Willie le Roux. Plus, at just 22, Fassi could be a feature in the Springbok squad for many years to come.