Second Phase

Best of what's left our shores

Fri, 30 May 2014 05:39
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Darryn Pollock's Overseas XV
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With the exodus of players from the South to the North is it possible to pick a South African team of substance solely on overseas-based players?
 
The numbers are there, with 49 Springboks plying their trade overseas and only 48 in Super Rugby, there is clearly some star quality available.
 
But what of the caliber of these players? Many of them find a comfortable retirement package overseas to play out there days, others get fed up with the systems in the southern hemisphere and look to make a name in the North.
 
So, could you feasibly create a world-beating team from those who no longer have their feet on home soil?
 
I am going to give it a go and play selector - my pool for the South Africans is massive!
 
The following selection is of South Africans playing in the English Premiership, Pro12, French top 14 and the Japanese Top League, these players, not all of them Springboks, are those that I deem noteworthy.
 
Loosehead props:
JC Janse van Rensburg, Heinke van der merwe, Guthro Steenkamp, Schalk Ferreira.
 
Hookers:
Chiliboy Ralepelle, Schalk Brits, Craig Burden.
 
Tighthead Props:
BJ Botha, WP Nel, Jacobie Adriaanse, Brian Mujati.
 
Locks:
Bakkies Botha, Danie Roussow, Andries Bekker, Alister Hargreves, Johan Snyman, Jandre Marais, Gerhard Mostert, Quinn Roux, Juandre Kruger.
 
Flanks:
Juan Smith, Francois Louw, Nick Koster, Don Armand, Ernst Joubert, CJ Stander, Cornell du Preez, Jaques Cronje.
 
No.8s:
Ashley Johnson, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Josh Strauss, Pedrie Wannenburg, Joe van Niekerk, Shaun Sowerby. 
 
Scrumhalves:
Michael Classens, Fourie du Preez, Ruan Pienaar, Neil de Kock, Heini Adams, Rory Kockett, Dewaldt Duvenage, Jano Vermark.
 
Flyhalf:
Morne Steyn.
 
Centres:
Andries Strauss, Robert Ebersohn, Wynand Olivier, Jacque Fourie, Meyer Bosman.
 
Wings:
Bryan Habana, Gerhard van den Heever, Wandile Mjekevu, Gio Aplon.
 
Fullbacks:
Zane Kirchner, Hennie Daniller, Joe Pietersen.
 
In South Africa there is no set quota for picking overseas players for the Springboks - so technically any of these players could make it.
 
It is fair to say however, that the team that Heyneke Meyer does pick will be predominately South African based players, I doubt anyone is expecting a shock inclusion of Ashley Johnson over Willem Alberts
 
My selection for the Overseas Boks XV is based mainly on reputation and star quality with aspects of form playing only a minor role.(a lot like Meyer)
 
Darryn Pollock's Overseas Bok XV: 1 Guthro Steenkamp, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 BJ Botha, 4 Bakkies Botha, 5 Andries Bekker, 6 Francois Louw, 7 Juan Smith, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 9 Fourie du Preez, 10 Morne Steyn (a simple choice), 11 Bryan Habana, 12 Wynand Olivier, 13 Jacque Fourie, 14 Gio Aplon, 15 Joe Pietersen.
 
In my forwards I have selected a strong scrummaging front row with the flair and energy of Brits to counter the big men. 
 
My second row is pure size and power.
 
The loose forwards are well balanced if not a little heavy on the ball-carrying side
 
The back line is also very direct and hard running with a little flair coming from Gio Aplon and my traditional uncapped player - Joe Pietersen.
 
As I look over my selection it is clear this team is one nostalgia - The youngest player being Francois Louw at 28, the rest are all over 30.
 
However this is not a team that would struggle against some international nations.
 
This speaks of the types of players that are leaving South Africa's shores, they are mostly players who have served their time at a high level such as the Springboks or at Super Rugby and are perhaps looking for a sedate way of life with a fat pay cheque - can you blame them?
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