Grant Williams Springboks

Springbok scrumhalf Grant Williams. Photo: SA Rugby website.

Big Springbok selection decision: Who should start at No 9?

The Springboks have a host of options at scrumhalf, but settling on who should start at No 9 is not a straightforward decision.

Grant Williams Springboks

Springbok scrumhalf Grant Williams. Photo: SA Rugby website.

The Springboks are edging ever closer to the start of the 2024 Test season, with the first squad of the year set to be unveiled on Saturday 8 June.

There are expected to be several surprise when that first squad is revealed, particularly considering there are some injury concerns for the Springbok coaches to consider.

When it comes the scrumhalf ranks, Faf de Klerk has missed the majority of the season in Japan due to a serious knee injury. Although he is reaching the end of his rehabilitation period, the Springbok stalwart is short on game time.

Meanwhile, Sharks halfback Jaden Hendrikse is set to be sidelined for several weeks due to a shoulder injury that will force him to miss the start of the season.

So, who should start at No 9 for the Springboks?

Safe bets: Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach

It remains to be seen if De Klerk will be fully fit at the start of the season, and the Springboks will be grateful to have his services. The national coaches will know exactly what the 32-year-old scrumhalf can bring to the party, and the same can be said for Cobus Reinach. The France-based scrumhalf is now 34 years old, and so it does stand to reason that the Springboks will now want to start expanding their depth.

Next in line: Grant Williams

The 27-year-old, who mainly played on the wing during last year’s World Cup, was one of the standout performers in the Challenge Cup final this past weekend. It was a timely reminder of his ability, and there is good reason to believe that the Springboks could benefit from giving him an extended run in his preferred position.

Left-field option: Sanele Nohamba

The talented Lions playmaker is certain to be part of the Springbok squad this year, but it will be interesting to see what role he fulfils. Nohamba has played extensively at flyhalf this season, but it’s unlikely that the diminutive 25-year-old will be viewed as a Test 10 just yet. Instead, the Springboks may well view him as an option at scrumhalf, where he initially made a name for himself at senior level.

BIG SEASON AHEAD

The Springboks will gather in Pretoria on Sunday 9 June to begin their on-field preparations for the season that starts with a clash against Wales on 22 June.

Coach Rassie Erasmus commented: “It was great to see the enthusiasm among the players and witness first-hand how they soaked in everything in as they attempt to stake a claim for places in the national team, and we believe this will set us in good stead as a squad for the upcoming season.

“As a coaching team this camp allowed us to get a better understanding of the players and their skills to give them enough detail to work on in the next few weeks before we gather for the first official training camp which will be hosted in June.”