Things are working out nicely for Springbok coach Allister Coetzee for the Castle Rugby Championship which starts next month. Not just did the Springboks played a confident series against the French but the inform players from which Coetzee can pick from is night and day from where he was last year this time.
The only thing that should be a problem at this stage for Coetzee is if his inspirational captain Warren Whiteley will be fit and ready to lead the Springboks against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
Whiteley will be vital for the Springboks if they want to beat the likes of New Zealand and Australia. Although Etzebeth did a good job as captain in the final test one tend to believe for success in the Championship we will need the leadership of Whiteley.
With Super Rugby going into the play-off this week we can see how much better we are as a nation than last year this time. The Lions still miles ahead of any other SA Team but the Stormers as well as the Sharks can beat any team on the day and have brought through some exciting youngsters this season.
It is not just the youngsters that came through for us in Super Rugby but also the experience players that have stepped up as well.
A quick scan through players on form this Super Rugby season we can see that Coetzee will rather have a problem on who to leave out rather than who to pick. Coetzee will most properly concentrate on combinations when he pick his squad and eventually his test side.
A few players have put up their hands this year and then we have players that will come back from injuries as well.
If we look only at the South African base players then we see that we have more than just one or two options out there.
Fullback: Andries Coetzee, Frans Steyn, Warrick Gelant and SP Marais, Dillyn Leyds, Malcolm Jaer
Wings: Ruan Combrinck, Raymond Rhule, Sergeal Petersen, S’busiso Nkosi, Duncan Mathews, Travis Ismaiel, Dillyn Leyds, Kobus van Wyk, Courtnall Skosan, Makazole Mapimpi
Midfield: Jan Serfontein, Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn, Damiejn De Allende, Lionel Mapoe, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Francois Venter, EW Viljoen, Juan de Jongh, Lukhanyo Am and Harold Vorster
Flyhalfs: Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard(if back from injury and some Currie Cup games played), Francois Steyn, Curwin Bosch, Lionel Cronje
Srumhalfs: Francois Hougaard, Tian Meyer, Rudy Paige, Jano Vermaak, Ross Cronje
Loose Forwards: Duane Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley, Kwagga Smith, Jaco Kriel, Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Siya Kolisi, Uzair Cassiem, Chris Cloete, Andisa Ntsila, Francois Louw,
Locks: Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter Steph du Toit, Reniel Hugo, Jason Jenkins, RG Snyman, Stephan Lewies,
Props: Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Coenie Oosthuizen, Thomas du Toit, Ruan Dreyer, Pierre Schoeman, Lizo Gqoboka, Beast
Hookers: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Akker vd Merwe and Bismark du Plessis
It is a big group of players an dmost may not even come close to selection but it is nice to see that we have players that can make the step up. I am also sure that their are a few players that I missed as well which leaves Coetzee a few nice headaches for the Championship.