South African rugby is set for some new faces this season. A new coach is on the horizon following Heyneke Meyer’s departure, and some new players are set to step in due to a number of retirements from high-profile players. But another interesting dynamic set to change is that of why dons the No. 10 jersey for the incoming June Tests against Ireland.
With first-choice flyhalves Handré Pollard and Patrick Lambie unlikely to participate in the series, we take a look at the candidates who are mot likely to take the reins as Springbok playmaker come the international stretch:
Without a doubt, the in-form South African flyhalf is that of Elton Jantjies. The Lions No. 10 has been in sublime form since his return from his Japanese stint. Jantjies has a new calmness about his decision-making that has elevated the other notable feature of his game: his x-factor. The 25-year-old has shown great vision to put the exciting Lions outside backs into space, and a willingness to take on the defensive line himself when the opportunity arises, often making clean line-breaks or scoring tries when he does. Jantjies isn’t the archetypal Springbok flyhalf, but he could fit quite effectively into the new-look team for 2016.
Of course, Morné Steyn is still in the running for the No. 10 berth. While he is now applying his trade in France with champion side Stade Français, Steyn is still very much up for Test rugby, given his consistency in his performances and his notable contribution for the Parisian side toward their 2015 Top 14 win. Steyn has the temperament, kicking prowess, and knowledge of the Springbok set-up to slot right back into his old channel. Whoever the new Springbok coach is, Steyn would be the safest choice for the interim, but not the most ambitious.
Ever since he burst onto the scene 2012, Johan Goosen was considered the incumbent flyhalf for South Africa. Due to injuries and setbacks, Goosen never reached his potential, and found himself applying his trade for Racing Metro in France for the past two years. When Goosen did fire for the Cheetahs and Springboks, he was electric. His impressive passing power and accuracy, along with his deceptive pace and kicking game, made him a wild card for defenders and the catalyst to ignite a backline. Goosen seems to have overcome his injury woes in his current French environment, and a return to the green jersey could be the spark the Springboks have been needing.
Francois Steyn was once the poster boy for the future of South African rugby, but has since separated himself from SA Rugby due to allegations of contract disputes, off-field complications, and other factors, but there’s no denying that Steyn is a true rugby talent, and at 28, he still has plenty of Test rugby left in him. Steyn has found himself playing in the fullback or centre position during his Japenese and current French stint with Jake White’s Montpellier, but Steyn was an accomplished flyhalf who has always had a knack for being in the driver’s seat. Having Steyn back in the Springbok camp could be a smart move for whoever takes on the coaching role, as Steyn’s experience and power would be a great asset in the absence of stalwarts moving on.
Who do you think should play flyhalf for the Springboks in the June Test series? Let us know in the comments below and tweet us at @MenStuffZA.