Welcome back to some of the regulars, like sharky_forever, Loosehead and Lion4ever… and to Webmonster GBS, recover quickly! The excitement and anticipation is building as we near the practice runs. It is thus fitting, that we look at the position, in which we are all of a sudden blessed with numerous contenders for the Bok 10 jumper. The Cheetahs are very lucky to have some exciting players in this position. A welcome change indeed!
The Cheetahs have produced a number of Springboks in this position, and some, it could be argued should have gotten more chances to play. Guys like Jannie de Beer, that only played a handful of test matches could have contributed more. Ironically, the Cheetahs are the SA franchise with arguably the most talent and depth in the flyhalf channel heading into the 2012 Super Rugby Competition.
D.O.B: 23 February 1989
Vital statistics: (H) 176 cm (W) 83 kg
His claim: The elder of the Ebersohn twins, Sias took a tad longer to make his mark, but when he did get an extended run in the Cheetahs team, he made a very good impression. Born and bred in Bloemfontein, he was eramarked for greater things as early as 2002 at the u/13 Craven Week. He has represented the Cheetahs at every level since. U/16 in 2005, Craven Week u/18 in 2007 and 2008. He also represented the Junior Bokke, in 2008 and 2009. Internationally Sias’s undoubted talent was also recognised, as he was selected to play in the Heroes Rugby Challenge at Twickenham in 2011. There he played with fellow SA players AJ Venter, and Andries Strauss for the Southern Hemishere XV.
Strengths: A gifted player, Sias is an attacking flyhalf, with a good tactical rugby brain to boot. An accomplished goal kicker too, he is the real deal.
Weaknesses: There have been questions asked of his defence, but I reckon that can be resolved
Bok potential: Only 23 next month, Sias has all the attributes of a top flyhalf, so he can definately throw his name into the hat. The Bok 10 jumper will be hotly contested in the next few years, with a number of good 10′s rising to prominence. His teammate Johan Goosen is another being earmarked for Bok colours sooner rather than later, Pat Lambie, and Elton Jantjies, will all want to lay down a marker this year.
Johannes Lodewikus (Johan) Goosen:
D.O.B: 27 July 1992
Vital statistics: (H) 185 cm (W) 85 kg
His claim: Born in Burgersdorp, he made the move to Grey College, to further showcase his undoubted talent. Playing flank at Primary School he then moved to flyhalf, a move which clearly paid off. He represented Border u/13 in 2005, then from there it was Cheetahs all the way. Grant Khomo Week for u/16′s in 2008, u/18′s in 2009 and 2010. SA Schools in 2009 and 2010, and IRB Junior World Championship in 2011. He made his debut for the Cheetahs in the 2011 Currie Cup. In his debut season, he made people sit up and take notice. Monster drop goals ala Frans Steyn, equally long penalty goals, and people started watching closely.
Strengths: An outrageous talent, Johan Goosen hit the SA senior rugby scene with a loud bang. He played some exciting rugby, and was named player of the month in the Currie Cup, in September. He has a eye fro a gap, good speed off the mark, and has great awareness of space. Add his 60m plus goal and drop kicks, and you have a weapon that can cause havoc. He is a suberb defender as well.
Weaknesses: His fearless approach has already left him severly concussed, after a clash vs the Lions, but that is hardly a weakness!
Bok potential: Understandably some people will want to see him perform in the Super Rugby arena first, but this lad can play! He is going to make the step up, no doubt in my mind. The way he stepped up to the Currie Cup last year was a sure sign, that this young man has BMT as well as talent. Let us not forget, he was 19 when he made his CC debut. (Naas Botha ring a bell).
D.O.B: 28 April 1984
Vital statistics: (H) 178 cm (w) 85 kg
His claim: Also known as “True Blue” (wonder wher that came from), Riaan has been the proverbial rugby tourist. He made his debut at u/20 level for the Leopards in 2004, and has represented the Leopards, Pumas, Valke, and Griffons before settling down at the Cheetahs.
Strengths: Admittedly, I knew little of Riaan till last year. His utility value is immense. He was used as fullback when the injury toll mounted, then wing, and made quite an impact scoring some awesome tries.
Weaknesses: Question marks over his defence, but he was quite solid in the Super 15 last year.
Bok potential: Unlikely given his age of 28, and the talent at 10 coming through.
D.O.B: 11 January 1989
Vital statistics: (H) 179 cm (W) 87 kg
His claim: Born in Nelspruit, Marnitz showed promise at an early age. Grant Khomo u/16 in 2005. Craven Week and SA Schools u/18 B. in 2006, he went one better in 2007 when he mase the SA Schools u/18 side. Signed by the Bulls in 2007, Marnitz has represented the Bulls, at u/19, u/21, Vodacom Cup, and Currie Cup level. He then moved to Griquas (a team he punished in a match vs the Bulls) at the end of 2011.
Strengths: A reliable goal kicker, and a good distributor at 10. No slouch on defence either.
Weaknesses: None that I am aware of.
Bok potential: Not beyond the realms of possibility, but he will have to improve profoundly given the nature of the contenders.
D.O.B: 18 August 1989
Vital statistics: (H) 186 cm (w) 90 kg
His claim: Another Paul Roos product, Willie represented WP Academy for u/18′s in 2007. He made his senior debut for Boland u/21 in 2008, and he has caught the eye, with some cracking runs from fullback. Another player with great utility value, because he has also played flyhalf with success for Boland.
Strengths: Big, fast, and a balanced runner, Willie has made quite a name at Boland.
Weaknesses: Haven’t seen enough of him.
Bok potential: More of an utility player, maybe he can push for Bok colours as a 15, but even there the competition is set to be intense. Not discounting it though.
Sias Ebersohn nailed the 10 position down with some very good performances, an injury opened the door for Goosen, who didn’t let any grass grow under his feet. What a conundrum for Naka! I would start with Sias, and slowly blood Goosen, and it also allows the opportunity to rotate without comprimising on attack or on goal kicking. When and if the inevitable injuries mount, Riaan Smit, Willie le Roux and Tewis de Bruyn can all play at 10. A rarity for the Cheetahs to be so well served at 10, where in the past I wanted to pull my little hair left out, with Naka’s persistance with likes Louis Strydom, Naas Olivier, and Conrad Barnard.