With three high-class scrumhalves competing with one another, Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus is in a good position at the end of the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup.
Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies and Cobus Reinach are all vying to impress their coach, and the Northampton Saints nine did himself no harm with the fastest RWC hat trick ever on Tuesday against Canada.
Reinach dotted down for his third score on the 21-minute mark in a first-half demolition of the Canadians, breaking Australian Chris Latham’s 16-year record for the fastest trio of tries. However, it was perhaps the variety of scores that may have impressed Erasmus the most.
The first try was just a pure solo effort, where Reinach displayed his searing pace, his second was a sniping try from close range and the third showed his superb support play after a break by Warrick Gelant.
Although de Klerk has been Erasmus’ first choice over the past year in green, he has faced some criticism so far this RWC, particularly after his display against the All Blacks.
Since making his debut in July, Jantjies has closed the gap behind the Sale Sharks nine, but Reinach is hot on his heels as well. The 23-year-old Jantjies was not overly impressive in the final 20 minutes against Canada, leaving it unclear who may start come the last eight.
On this display, Reinach has worked his way into a number of fans’ squads for the quarter-final, although he may not necessarily be a starter. The pace he brings from the bench is unrivalled, and he could provide an injection of energy into the final stages of a match.
2018 World Rugby player of the year nominee de Klerk has been consigned to the reserves for many fans, as the playoffs of a RWC are not the place for a struggling player to try and find some form.
These are the fans’ opinions on the scrumhalf debate:
#RSAvCAN This man should start every game…and Jantjies on the bench. Reinach is our best scrummie
— ?????????? (@pruwim) October 8, 2019
#SSRUGBY start Hercelle Jantjies in quarter final and use Reinach as an impact player. Fad can carry water
— Billy Claasen (@BillyClaasen) October 8, 2019
Based on current form,
Reinach > Jantjies > de Klerk.
— Wabi-Sabi (@AlessandroCAR) October 8, 2019
Reinach is better than De Klerk, notwithstanding the fact that teams like Canada don't add anything to the world cup at all.
— Darren Wayne (@lionheartdw) October 8, 2019
— Keegan Kruger (@KeeganKruger) October 8, 2019
I think Reinach has just shafted Faf to the reserves for the rest of the tournament.
— Gabranth (@CASHMANIA14) October 8, 2019
While Reinach and Jantjies look to be the form scrumhalves in the South Africa squad currently, coaches are sometimes reluctant to defer from what they know when it comes to crucial matches, which works in de Klerk’s favour. The Springboks will face either Japan, Ireland or Scotland in the last eight, none of which are teams that Erasmus will want to experiment with his nines against.
Rassie Erasmus has had to curtail talks of any racism in the Springboks:
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