Springboks Rassie Erasmus alignment camp

Rassie Erasmus, Springboks coach.

Three huge selection headaches for Springboks’ Rassie Erasmus

Springbok head coach Rassie Erasmus will face some massive selection decisions at the start of the 2024 Test season.

Springboks Rassie Erasmus alignment camp

Rassie Erasmus, Springboks coach.

The Springboks will start the 2024 Test season against Wales, followed by a highly anticipated two-Test series against Ireland before a one-off clash against Portugal that precedes the Rugby Championship.

It’s likely that there will be relatively experimental selections for the game against Wales, as well as the clash against Portugal, but it will be very interesting to see what Rassie Erasmus’ first-choice team looks like.

Three biggest selection calls for Springbok boss Rassie Erasmus to make

Who should start at 13?

Although Jesse Kriel took a firm hold of the No 13 jersey last year, Lukhanyo Am is now fully fit and desperately looking to make an impact at the Sharks during what has been a challenging season so far for the Durban-based side.

By the time the Test season rolls around, it will be very interesting to see whether Am has done enough to reclaim the starting role at outside centre or whether Kriel has permanently displaced him.

Who is best suited to a starting role at hooker?

Both Bongi Mbonambi and Malcolm Marx are world-class players with unique strengths, and Rassie Erasmus has previously mixed and matched when it comes to selecting his starting hooker.

Mbonambi offers stability and excels in the set pieces, while Marx brings explosiveness and a major breakdown threat. It’s likely that each player’s role could change depending on the opposition, but considering that Marx has been sidelined for some time with a serious injury, you can expect Mbonambi to retain the No 2 jersey.

Building depth at No 8

Duane Vermeulen’s retirement leaves a big gap at eighthman for the Springboks, although Jasper Wiese seems to be the natural successor, having impressed with his physicality and work ethic.

The real headache for the Springboks and Rassie Erasmus will come if Wiese is not available, with a few ‘newcomers’ providing back up at No 8, but no one in particular really offering out and out specialist cover.