<
>

5 players who can still impress the Springbok coach ahead of June Tests

Waisake Naholo and Kwagga Smith battle for the ball -- Naholo was a destructive force for the All Blacks at Twickenham, but it was Smith who walked away with the man of the match award for the Barbarians in November. Henry Browne/Getty Images for Barbarians RFC

Rassie Erasmus has probably identified almost 80 percent of the players he wants for the Springboks' in the one-off Test match against Wales and the highly anticipated Test series against England.

But there could be certain positions that he is still pondering about. Scrumhalf remains an issue, while it's not clear if Erasmus will opt to play and out and out fetcher against the English.

The inside centre berth also seems to be up for grabs, as the coach may decide to play a 'second flyhalf' in that position instead of the big, strong, traditional South African No 12s currently playing for many of the four Super Rugby franchises.

With only three weekends left for players to put their hands up, KweséEPN looks at some of the players who can still twist Erasmus' arm for a spot in the Springbok squad.

Kwagga Smith (Lions)

The Lions scavenger hasn't quite showed the consistency that Erasmus would have hoped for. He hasn't produced the type performances that put him in the spotlight during the Barbarians' clash against the All Blacks last year.

Smith can be an asset for the Boks, as a player who is great on the ground and who possesses a lot of skill because of his Sevens background. But he has to start playing to his true potential if he wants to play international rugby at the 15s level.

Trevor Nyakane (Bulls)

Nyakane's transition from loosehead to tighthead is almost complete after a few top performances over the last few weeks. Nyakane has shed a lot of kilos and is looking as trim as he has ever been. He is scrumming well and getting around the park.

Nyakane's ability to pack on both sides on the scrum is going to make him a key selection in case of a coin toss between two players, but a top performance against the Sharks should see him get the nod.

Rob du Preez (Sharks)

The Sharks flyhalf must be on Erasmus' radar, but he is competing against many other quality pivots for the honour of wearing the Springbok No 10 jersey. Du Preez has had a few good showings this season, but he has also been very inconsistent at times.

On his day, though, the Sharks man can be a great match winner. He has a massive physical presence in that No 10 channel as a defender and he is hard to stop close to the line with ball in hand. His goal kicking has also come along over the last few years.

Dillyn Leyds (Stormers)

Leyds is fighting to retain his place in the Bok side after he wasn't invited to Erasmus' alignment camps earlier this year. But Leyds still has a lot to offer in terms of his attacking potential and the way he reads the game.

There is no better place to stake a claim for a spot in the squad than at Newlands playing against New Zealand opposition. Last year Leyds produced one of the moments of the season against the Chiefs with a stupendous back of the hand offload. He needs a similar moment of magic to win over Erasmus' heart.

Ivan van Zyl (Bulls)

The Bulls scrumhalf has got a lot of talent, but he needs to stand out from the rest of the contenders if he is really going to force his way into the Bok team. None of the current crop of scrumhalves have really put up their hands this season, which may force Erasmus to look abroad.

Van Zyl's advantage over the rest is that he is playing with the likely Bok No 10, Handré Pollard. If he can bring out the best in the future national captain, he has a chance to leapfrog those other No 9s ahead of him.