Five Bok newcomers ready to make a splash at the Rugby World Cup

Five Bok newcomers ready to make a splash at the Rugby World Cup

The Springbok Rugby World Cup squad in France is packed with experienced campaigners who have seen it all before, but there are those who will cherish this new opportunity.

Here, SABC Sport takes a look at five youngsters making their first Rugby World Cup appearances in the green and gold...

Canan Moodie

Moodie has enjoyed a meteoric rise to stardom thanks to impressing from his very first Test match. On debut against Australia Down Under last year, he showed fantastic ariel skills to collect a high ball and score his first five-pointer in the green and gold at just 19-years-old.

The winger scored against Argentina and Wales this year and featured prominently in the 13 jersey in the Springboks' record win over the All Blacks at Twickenham.

While he was originally brought in as cover for the outside backs, Moodie's performance against New Zealand has made a case for his inclusion in the centres for the Boks. And it might be needed, given the current unavailability of Lukhanyo Am. At the moment, everything he touches turns to gold, but Bok management would be wise to manage their young gun carefully.

Jaden Hendrikse

Coming off the bench in 2021 against Argentina, the lively scrumhalf also scored a try on debut for the Springboks. But Hendrikse later fractured his ankle leaving him on the sidelines for months.

Seemingly cursed by the injury gods, the King William's Town native hurt his shoulder earlier this year and was in doubt to make the Bok squad for France, but his 13 caps of experience, pace and astute kicking out of hand helped him make the cut. Hendrikse also provides another placekicking option.

With three other scrumhalves to compete with, Hendriske will have to impress on the training field to get game time.

Grant Williams

The Sharks No.9 made his debut for the Boks just last July. It came off the back of a thrilling United Rugby Championship, where he scored ten tries for the Durban franchise. Ironically, Hendrikse's injury also aided his call-up.

Williams' opportunities for the Springboks have been slim, as he's just earned five caps. However, with him being arguably the quickest player in the squad, Bok management may also employ him as cover on the wing.

Other than searing pace, the Paarl Gimnasium graduate has other attributes, including quick service and a bullet pass. We expect Williams to be unleashed against the likes of Romania and Tonga in the pool stages.

Manie Libbok

Out of this list, Libbok is undoubtedly under the most pressure to perform. As the sole recognised flyhalf in the squad, his role as a placekicker has already come under scrutiny from the relentless South African public, who have been blessed with incredible kick-takers in the past.

But with such great responsibility comes the best chance to impress. Libbok has been exceptional with his distribution and kicking out of hand, often leaving defenders guessing. The Stormers star has done it for his franchise, carrying them all the way to a URC title, and now gets to show his skills on the grandest stage of them all in France.

Kurt-Lee Arendse

Arendse has left defenders clutching at straws since his debut just a year ago against New Zealand. Since, the former Blitzboks flyer has scored against every team (bar Wales) he's played against, racking up 11 tries from his ten appearances.

The winger is one of five potent outside backs in the Boks' RWC squad. Makazole Mapimpi, Willie le Roux and Cheslin Kolbe all have previous World Cup experience, though none come close to Arendse's strike rate in terms of finishing. You can be sure his hat-trick against Australia earlier this year won't be the last.

The diminutive hot-stepper punches well above his weight on defence as well. With these attributes, Arendse has the chance to be the tournament's top scorer if the Springboks go all the way in France.

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