Springboks alignment camp: Derby delight for Bok hopefuls

FILE - Bulls' lock Ruan Nortje pictured with Willie le Roux. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

FILE - Bulls' lock Ruan Nortje pictured with Willie le Roux. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Mar 4, 2024


There were some outstanding performances in the last couple of local derbies in the United Rugby Championship by players recently called up to the first Springbok alignment camp.

In the latest instalment, Gauteng sides dominated the coastal sides at the weekend as the Lions triumphed over the Sharks, and the Bulls broke their drought against the Stormers in Pretoria.

IOL Sport looks at five outstanding players who made a case for themselves ahead of this week’s Bok alignment camp.

Ruan Nortje

If the Boks ever wondered how they would replace their top-tier No 5 locks, they don’t have to look further than the Bulls’ line-out front ranker.

Nortje was a thorn in the side of the Stormers and helped power the Bulls to a 40-22 win. He disrupted the line-out ball of the Cape side time and again, and secured his side’s line-out possession without trouble. Nortje’s work rate with the ball in hand and off the ball was excellent as he tackled his way through the Stormers’ ball carriers.

Johan Grobbelaar

Whether it was at the back of a rolling maul, throwing in at the line-out or just shooting like a missile into the defence with the ball under his arm, Bulls hooker Grobbelaar made a nuisance of himself from a Stormers point of view. He scored two sensational tries and was tireless when he was on the field.

Grobbelaar’s accurate throwing in allowed the Bulls to set up rolling mauls almost at will. He also did the dirty work, especially when his team defended on their tryline.

Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

The 22-year-old has been magical every time the Stormers decided to let him loose. During the first part of the season, it was as a starter, and he tore defences apart with his direct running, but he also sports some silky sidestepping.

The Bulls felt it when the utility back came on in the second half, as he glided past defenders with ease.

Ruan Venter

The 21-year-old put in a thunderous performance against the Sharks.

Venter has grown into a blindside flank role similar to that of Bok star Pieter-Steph du Toit and it is no coincidence that they have similar physical proportions – Venter is 1.98m and weighs in at 120kg. That is a lot of beef to throw about in the loose exchanges.

The Paarl Boys High product has a bright future ahead of him. He played a big role in the Lions outplaying the Sharks forwards and with the Bok loose forwards ageing, he is one for the future.

Sanele Nohamba

Every time the little fellow plays a starring role for the Lions, the Sharks must scratch their heads at their brain implosion in chasing him from Kings Park. Nohamba was exceptional against his old team at the weekend. He scored a try and made two more.

More importantly, he confirmed his versatility to Bok coach Rassie Erasmus by playing a blinder at scrumhalf after having impressed at flyhalf for most of the season.

IOL Sport