Roos the 'obvious' choice for Boks at No 8, says Stander

Roos the 'obvious' choice for Boks at No 8, says Stander

Former Munster and Ireland great CJ Stander reckons the Springboks should roll the dice and allow Evan Roos to create havoc at this year's World Cup.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's United Rugby Championship (URC) final between the Stormers and Munster in Cape Town, the former Munster man believes the Boks will greatly benefit from Roos' "explosive" style in France later this year.

Roos was the undoubted star of last year's inaugural URC campaign as he was crowned the Players' Player of the Season, Fans' Player of the Season, Next-Gen Player of the Season and earned a place in the tournament's Dream Team.

He also made three Springbok appearances but suffered a broken rib in the end-of-year Test against England last November before sustaining a serious knee injury in the Stormers Round 13 loss to Ulster in January.

Roos made his return to action in the Stormers' Round 17 defeat to Munster in Cape Town and while he's yet to reach the levels of last season, Stander remains absolutely convinced about his attributes.

"For me, he is the obvious choice at number eight. He plays hard, is physical," said Stander.

"I actually watched him play for Paarl Boys' High a few years ago and back then I already thought he's got unbelievable athletic abilities."

Roos faces stiff competition for the Bok No 8 jersey. Springbok great Duane Vermeulen is still hoping to play an important role for the team in France later this year, while the Bok coaches have shown a lot of faith in Jasper Wiese, who continues to tear it up in the Premiership for Leicester, recently being named the Players' Player of the Year.

But Stander believes Roos possesses an x-factor his rivals currently do not.

"After he made his mark at junior level, he subsequently started improving his work rate and working on his defence," he said.

"Evan is unbelievably explosive. I saw him score a try against Connacht at the Danie Craven Stadium earlier this season and you don't see that explosiveness anymore.

"Since that day I have followed him and I really like the way he plays. I wouldn't blink picking him."

With the intense physicality in his game, Roos' discipline has sometimes let him down, and Stander admits it's something he'll need to take a close look at.

"Maybe there was a bit too much physicality at the start of the year and he did a few things that weren't exactly according to the laws," said Stander.

"He has come back from injury, he is fit and playing well. Evan is a great all-round player and someone I think will be in the Springbok number eight jersey for a long time."

Roos will have another massive opportunity to show the Bok coaches just what he's capable of when the Stormers face Munster in the URC Grand Final in Cape Town on Saturday.