The best South African XV in the Pro 14

Colm Roar Pro

By Colm, Colm is a Roar Pro

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    It was recently announced that the Kings and Cheetahs will be joining the Pro 12 competition in Europe. Therefore, it’s time to look at how many players from the two teams would make a combined South African-qualified Pro 14 team.

    1. Ox Nché (The Cheetahs)
    He is far quicker than a man of his dimensions should be. One of the most impressive players at the 2015 under-20 World Cup. Built like a tank, Ox Nché edges out Ulster’s Schalk van der Merwe and Southern King’s captain Schalk Ferreira as the best South African loosehead in next year’s pro 14.

    2. Mike Willemse (The Kings)
    The Capetonian has impressed as the starting hooker at the Kings. Willemse carries with the type of grunt you would expect for all South African-born hookers. Like Ox Nché, he has represented South Africa at underage level for South Africa Under-20.

    3. Ross Geldenhuys (The Kings)
    Anybody who has played for a team called the Mighty Elephants (now known as the Eastern Province Kings) is alright with me. To complete the front row, we have Geldenhuys. Picked ahead of Ulster’s Wiehan Herbst for his slightly better scrummaging.

    4. Jean Kleyn (Munster)
    The tighthead lock weighs in at 125kg and stands at 2.03 metres tall. Nicknamed “The Destroyer”, Kleyn has also played for the Stormers. Has the same type of physicality as his former teammate Eben Etzebeth. Arguably, Munster’s best signing since Cj Stander.

    5. Gerbrandt Grobler (Munster)
    Another Munster and former Stormers lock, renowned for his physicality. Expectations are high that Grobler can translate his impressive form at Racing 92 to Munster. Not as physical as Kleyn, but offers more subtlety in the carry.

    6. Chris Cloete (Munster)
    Cloete is a traditional seven, first to every breakdown and links play well between the forwards and the backs. He won the most around of turnovers(34) in this season’s Super rugby competition. Will face stiff competition from Tommy O’Donnell for the seven jersey next season.

    7. Marcell Coetzee (Ulster)
    Has close to 30 caps for the Springboks and seems to have bulked up during his short time at Ulster. Ulster are yet to see the 28-times capped Coetzee at his best, due to a number of knee injuries.

    8. Jean Deaysel (Ulster)
    Another South African International currently at Ulster. Has experience of playing in the second row and carries strongly like all South African backrowers. Deaysel completes what is a pretty balanced back row.

    9. Louis Schreuder (The Kings)
    One of a few positions with not many options. Sarel Pretorius the only non-South African based player in the running. Schreuder gets the nod for his ability to break the line.

    10. Fred Zeilinga (The Cheetahs)
    Lionel Cronjé was the obvious choice here, but he is leaving the Kings to join the Toyota Verblitz, in Japan. Another South African fly-half Marnitz Boshoff, has left Connacht. That leaves Zeilinga, a diminutive fly-half that takes the ball to the gain line.

    11. Hanno Dirksen (Ospreys)
    With Raymond Rhule expected to join the Stormers, Dirksen was the obvious choice. The powerful winger is the only player on this team, to have never played professional rugby in South Africa. Hanno Dirksen has been one of the most improved players at the Ospreys, since joining in 2009.

    12. Jaco Taute (Munster)
    Came to Munster in the middle of last season, as a medical joker for Francis Saili. Taute was at the heart of Munster’s aggressive defence under Jacques Nienaber. His best position is 13, but he can also play as a fullback and as an inside centre.

    13. Francois Venter (Cheetahs)
    The centre made his debut against England in 2016. Venter offers pace and try-scoring ability. Like many players from the Cheetahs and Kings, Venter could surprise some Northern Hemisphere fans with his attacking abilities.

    14. Sergeal Petersen (Cheetahs)
    The Cheetahs will be hoping they can hang onto him because he has the speed and finishing-ability to worry all pro 14 sides next season. Big things are expected of Petersen, having represented South Africa at underage level. The 22-year-old has also played for The Kings and The Eastern Province Kings.

    15. Louis Ludik (Ulster)
    Has proven to be great value for money at Ulster. Despite having back-three options such as Charles Piutau, Tommy Bowe, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble and Jared Payne, Ludik has more than held his own. At times he has even pushed Payne into the outside centre position. Ludik will continue to impress South African viewers.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • August 2nd 2017 @ 1:50pm
      SJ said | August 2nd 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

      Deysel is well past his best. Coetzee at 8 with Cassiem at blindside. Otherwise Ntsila in at 8.
      Mapimpi at 11 – Should be involved with the Boks this year.
      Also, Schreuder is off to the Sharks.

      • Roar Pro

        August 2nd 2017 @ 5:35pm
        Colm said | August 2nd 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

        Hi SJ,
        “Deysel is well past his best.” I would have agreed with you up until 6 months ago. He was outstanding for Munster and looked somewhat back to his best. Cassiem, Ntsila and especially Mohojé(Could be off to the Stormers) all have valid claims for inclusion.

    • August 2nd 2017 @ 2:11pm
      Baylion said | August 2nd 2017 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

      Mike Willemse – Lions
      Ross Geldenhuys – Sharks
      Louis Schreuder – Sharks
      Sergeal Petersen – Rumoured to go to the Stormers

      • Roar Pro

        August 2nd 2017 @ 5:41pm
        Colm said | August 2nd 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

        Thanks Baylion,
        I wrote this article about two weeks ago. I thought I was up-to-date on all new departures/singings, obviously not.

      • Columnist

        August 3rd 2017 @ 8:13am
        Brett McKay said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        That was my big question too. My understanding is the Kings currently have about as many players on their books as this time last year..

        • Roar Guru

          August 3rd 2017 @ 9:18pm
          biltongbek said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

          Brett just read an rticke whereby it is said SARU is actively assisting and funding a recruitment drive for the Kings and Cheetahs, they have commited that there will be 5 international players representing each team. They do not want the Cheetahs or Kings to be the flogging horses of the competition in their first season.

          It does seem SARU is taking this opportunity very serious indeed

    • August 2nd 2017 @ 2:31pm
      Jake said | August 2nd 2017 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

      CJ Stander or is it CJ O’Stander now?

      • Roar Pro

        August 2nd 2017 @ 6:07pm
        Colm said | August 2nd 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

        In South Africa, they have quotas on genetic makeup. In Ireland, we have quotas on the amount of O’s allowed in the team. It will be Bundee O’Aki.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 3:33pm
          Buk said | August 3rd 2017 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

          Colm – Quota of Mc’s is not used up – CJ McStander. 🙂

      • August 5th 2017 @ 7:17pm
        Bakkies said | August 5th 2017 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

        He is eligible to apply for Irish citizenship in the next few months

    • August 2nd 2017 @ 4:03pm
      cuw said | August 2nd 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

      Jean Deaysel was a 6 . he made a name more for his Broc lesner like physique , when he lost his shirt in a super rugger match as i recall….

      i think his career overlapped with the likes of willem alberts and dannie roussow , who could fit into the 2nd row also , thus very limited test caps.

      good super level player but cant really remember him being outstanding in test rugger.

      there are others Oli kebble, Brian mujati, Werner kruger, Marnitz Boshoff …..

      there is also the interesting case of fFranco van der Merwe , who was let go by Cardiff blues without ever playing a game , due to financial considerations 🙂

      • Roar Pro

        August 2nd 2017 @ 6:08pm
        Colm said | August 2nd 2017 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

        Hi cuw, some really good points.
        I remember that Deaysel incident, too. I also recall that he was terrible, without his shirt.

        Brian mujati and Werner kruger haven’t really impressed me yet. Marnitz Boshoff is going back to South Africa. Oli kebble would be the tighthead in my team, now that Ross Geldenhuys has gone to the Sharks.

        The Franco van der Merwe case must be worrying from a Cardiff Blues perspective. Having said that, Seb Davies is highly rated in Wales. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the WRU taking over the Cardiff Blues due to a lack of finance.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:24pm
          cuw said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

          this tournament is more or less like the super 18 – with many teams that dont merit to be in it .

          out of the 18 teams in super rugger 12 had 6 wins or more from 15 matches.

          out of the 12 teams in pro 12 8 had 9 wins or more from 22 matches.

          Zebre lost 19 out of 22. Rebels lost 13 out of 15.

          now both tournaments are looking for legitimate ways of making them interesting and attractive to fans – most probably fans who have turned their back on due to the rubbish dished out in certain ways.

          super 18 is reducing 3 teams . pro 14 is adding 2 teams from south africa. both moves will garner interest even if not for long term.

          just like in football , there is a vast gulf between the haves and havenots.

    • August 2nd 2017 @ 11:17pm
      Gron said | August 2nd 2017 @ 11:17pm | ! Report

      What? No WP Nel, Richard Strauss, Sarel Pretorius etc etc?

      • Roar Pro

        August 3rd 2017 @ 6:32am
        Colm said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:32am | ! Report

        Only players who could become eligible for the Springboks, were in the running.

    • August 3rd 2017 @ 12:09pm
      Jimbo said | August 3rd 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

      It would be great if ALL the South African teams joined European Rugby and got out of Super Rugby. Then New Zealand together with Australia could start a competition including a Japanese team and one from Hong Kong – they have the facilities and the supporter interest. Then teams from other Asian Countries (and possibly Pacific Islands) could be included. Then the games would only be spread over four (4) time zones and there wouldn’t be a need to get up at 2:15am to watch your team playing in South Africa. This would bring a lot of money into the competition and a lot of players from the Pacific Islands would get contracts.

      GO SOUTH AFRICA GO – AND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2017 @ 7:57pm
        Charging Rhino said | August 3rd 2017 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

        Ha Jimbo… I love Australia….. But why do you think NZ would want to boot SA and form a competition with Australia? Time zone is pretty much the only big link to factor in.

        My thoughts are that NZ would choose a comp with SA over Aus rather. Aus can then focus on its own domestic competition (more important than NPC), which we’ve heard over and again on this site is what Aus needs and wants.
        I really think that if any country was to get the boot, or go it alone, it would sadly be Australia. Aus just wants too many different things and has a completely different rugby culture to SA and NZ, who already have long established domestic comps.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 8:17pm
          Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:17pm | ! Report

          Nah, I don’t think NZ and SA would manage a comp without Aus, it’s just too far to fly, especially for the Kiwis.

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2017 @ 8:29pm
        biltongbek said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

        Agree Jimbo, I will make sure the door doesn’t hit our wallets on the way out. 😉

        • Roar Rookie

          August 4th 2017 @ 5:51am
          eeds said | August 4th 2017 @ 5:51am | ! Report

          I think as it stands I’d like to see S.A teams move up north. As an Australian I’d be sad to see them go, my whole life I’ve enjoyed watching the most decorated teams in world rugby battle it out in provincial rugby almost as much as watching the tri-nations and now rugby championship.

          It just seems for a wealth of reasons like it’s the best option for everyone except maybe N.Z…

          For Australia, a new focus on our domestic comps and grassroots would seem to be what the general consensus is to get our rugby back heading in the right direction. I feel like without the S.A cash it might be our only option.

          It opens up the opportunity for (preferably) a couple of teams from the pacific islands and therefore hopefully somewhat stemming the player drain their national teams suffer from.

          Ditto another team in Asia. Except for what we are told the rugby market is very lucrative…

          Where that leaves Argentinas team (or teams) is anyone’s guess… north or south they need homegrown professional rugby teams.

          For S.A maybe the north is a better fit? Their players head there in their prime already, they have the cash and the professional infrastructure if not better than equal to anything super rugby can provide, the time zones work better and there seems an appetite (at least on the roar) to go. What does all this spell for the rugby championship and SAANZAR?

          It’s just NZ, do they buy into this utopian rugby competition knowing full well they are likely to dominate or do they go it alone knowing they are likely to dominate the international game anyway based on their love and domestic appetite for rugby. Is this a catalyst for a problem similar to what the pacific islands and more recently S.A national teams face with player migration? I haven’t seen a single kiwi advocate for going it alone…

          I for one am very excited to see how it all pans out from here to whenever the new broadcast deal is announced for 2020…

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