Bok stars in the making
After an up-and-down season for the Springboks, Craig Ray and Chumani Bambani look at some of the national team's best young prospects for next season.
Siya Kolisi (Flank, WP) - Although he had shown great potential in the 2011 Currie Cup, Kolisi was expected to play a fringe role for the Stormers in 2012.
But an injury to Schalk Burger 20 minutes into the opening match of the campaign thrust Kolisi on to centre stage, and the bruising flank never looked back.
He became a cult hero at Newlands with shuddering defence that ensured the Stormers never missed Burger, while his ball-carrying strength and solid work on the deck saw him become one of the most respected players in the tournament. Only injury prevented him making his Bok debut this season.
Johan Goosen (Flyhalf, Cheetahs) - Making his Test debut as a 20-year-old in Perth against Australia underlined his talent and potential. He quickly ousted Morne Steyn as the Springbok starting flyhalf before injury ended his season during the match against the All Blacks at Soccer City.
Goosen scored 145 Super 15 points for the Cheetahs with a massive and accurate boot and also showed that he has the potential as an attacking force with varied play.
Marcell Coetzee (Flank, Sharks) - He seemingly arrived from nowhere during the Super 15 with energetic and skillful displays as part of a successful Sharks unit.
Coetzee was so impressive that Bok coach Heyneke Meyer included him in his first team of the year against England as a 20-year-old and he remained an ever-present squad member throughout the season. He marries great ball-carrying skill with supreme defensive grit. He has also improved his breakdown work immensely over the course of the season.
Steven Kitshoff (Prop, WP) - The ginger loosehead is as distinctive for his appearance as he is for his scrumming strength and ability in the loose.
He was thrust into a starting role for the Stormers at the beginning of the year and improved with almost every outing. He was hugely influential in the Junior World Championships and played a crucial role in both the final against New Zealand and in the crunch final pool match against England, in which the Baby Boks needed to score four tries to advance to the semis.
Raymond Rhule (Wing, Cheetahs) - The Ghanaian-born flyer has more than only speed going for him as he demonstrated by playing both centre and wing for the Cheetahs during the Currie Cup.
Rhule was a member of the SA under-20 World Championship winning team and returned to set the Currie Cup alight by scoring eight tries. Even though the Cheetahs struggled, he was rewarded with a place on the Bok end-of-year tour although a Test cap eluded him for the moment.
Jan Serfontein (Centre, Bulls) - The 19-year-old is undoubtedly a Springbok in the making. He was a crucial member of the SA under-20 team that won the World Championships and his performances in the tournament led to him being named IRB's junior player of the year.
Scarra Ntubeni (Hooker, WP) - At the start of the season, Ntubeni would never have imagined that he would end the year off a household name and earmarked as a prospective Springbok.
He began the season as third-choice hooker for Province, but ended having played a big role with back-to-back top-class performances to help the team win the Currie Cup.
Cobus Reinach (Scrumhalf, Sharks) - With brilliant scrumhalves few and far between, Reinach showed this season that he has the potential to be one of the best.
He began the season having to depose the talented Charl McLeod as the Sharks' first choice No9 and he managed to do so successfully.
We can expect more from the 22-year-old who has his sights on catching the eye of the Bok selectors.