Evan Roos in action for the Springboks. Photo: SA Rugby website

OPINION: Evan Roos is not ‘that guy’ for the Springboks

Evan Roos’ talent is undeniable, but his temperament and lack of tactical play make him unsuitable as a Springbok starting number eight.


Evan Roos in action for the Springboks. Photo: SA Rugby website

The Springboks have long relied on a specific prototype for their number eight—a player who embodies physicality, reliability, and strategic intelligence.

Duane Vermeulen and Jasper Wiese are prime examples of this mould, contributing significantly to the team’s success.

However, Evan Roos, despite his undeniable talent, does not fit this archetype. This article explores why Roos may not be the ideal starter for the Springboks yet.

The Springbok Number Eight Archetype

Duane Vermeulen, often referred to as “Thor,” is renowned for his immense physical presence, leadership, and strategic prowess on the field.

His ability to read the game, make crucial tackles, and secure turnovers has made him a cornerstone of the Springbok setup.

Similarly, Jasper Wiese brings a blend of power and reliability, excelling in both offensive carries and defensive duties.

His performance for Leicester Tigers has earned him accolades, including the Premiership’s Players’ Player of the Year award​.

Evan Roos: The Talented Maverick

Evan Roos is undeniably talented. His explosive runs and aggressive playing style make him a formidable presence on the field.

Roos was a standout player in the United Rugby Championship (URC), earning multiple awards for his performances. His athleticism and competitive spirit are evident in his ball-carrying abilities and defensive work​.

However, Roos’ style is markedly different from the traditional Springbok number eight. His game is characterised by spectacular solo efforts, which, while impressive, are not always aligned with the structured and disciplined approach required at the international level.

Blistering solo runs can turn games but rarely win championships like the Rugby World Cup, where strategy and consistency are paramount.

Temperament and Discipline in the Springboks

One of the critical aspects of being a successful number eight for the Springboks is maintaining composure under pressure. Vermeulen and Wiese are both noted for their calmness and ability to perform reliably in high-stakes situations.

Roos, on the other hand, has struggled with his temperament. Instances of foul play, such as unnecessary shoving and aggressive behaviour, have marred his otherwise promising performances.

These disciplinary issues are significant red flags for coaches who prioritise stability and dependability in their squads​.

Tactical Play and High Ball Skills

Another area where Roos falls short is his tactical play, particularly in dealing with high balls and positional awareness.

Vermeulen’s experience allows him to excel in these areas, contributing to the team’s overall defensive strategy. Wiese, too, has shown significant growth in his game intelligence and positioning.

Roos, however, still needs to develop these crucial aspects of his play to be considered a reliable starter for the Springboks.


While Evan Roos is a spectacular athlete with immense potential, he does not currently fit the mould of a Springbok starting number eight.

His explosive style and competitive edge are assets, but his lack of discipline, tactical shortcomings, and inconsistency make him a less reliable choice compared to Vermeulen and Wiese.

For now, Roos’ best role might be as a dynamic substitute, capable of making an impact in the latter stages of a game when his flair and physicality can be game changers.

To thrive in the Springbok setup, Roos will need to refine his game, focusing on discipline, tactical awareness, and consistency. He must also develop better high-ball skills and improve his decision-making under pressure.

Until then, he is not ‘that guy’ for the Springboks, but with the right development, he could become a crucial part of the team’s future.