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Springboks' back row stocks take yet another hit

By Ian Cameron
Press Association

South Africa head coach Rassie Erasmus faces another selection blow with Cameron Hanekom set to miss the Springboks’ upcoming Test series with Ireland.

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The rookie No.8 was a standout performer for the Bulls this season but looks set to miss a potential first cap due to a hamstring tear.

Hanekom sustained his injury during the final against Glasgow and it looks like the injury in the 48th minute will rule him out of the upcoming Tests.

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Hendrik Cronje reported on Twitter that: “I really feel for Cameron Hanekom who injured his hamstring in the URC final. It is highly unlikely that he will be ready for the two tests against Ireland.”

This injury further depletes the loose forward stocks as Jasper Wiese is already ruled out due to suspension.

Erasmus will name an updated squad on Tuesday ahead of the series following the conclusion of the United Rugby Championship, with the Bulls falling to Glasgow Warriors in the final on Saturday. Flight delays in London mean South Africa will only land back on home soil tomorrow (Tuesday).

Before the injury the 6’4, 110kg loose forward looked like a potential replacement for the retired Duane Vermeulen.

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South African rugby legends Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger praised Hanekom’s performances this season. De Villiers said Hanekom “had an unbelievable game” while Burger noted his “watershed performance” against Leinster in the semi-final.

Hanekom’s performances at Loftus Versfeld saw him carrying 15 times for 126 metres, beating six defenders, and making three offloads, alongside game-changing tackles.

Burger said: “Moving forward, you look at the Test series that is coming up now, the Irish Test match, and there is one position where we don’t have someone. Duane Vermeulen at No.8 used to be a shoe-in, and Jasper Wiese is suspended, so No.8 is one where we look at who are we going to get to fill in. Evan Roos has had an opportunity there. Cameron Hanekom, for me, has put his hand up with a performance like that against Leinster to say, this might be my time.”

Hanekom also qualifies for Wales through his grandmother. Burger believes he should soon be wearing green and gold rather than red.

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Justin 24 days ago

unsure of how this depletes Bok back row as he has never been capped. I doubt Rassie relies on uncapped players for team strength

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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FEATURE Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma
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