South African Conference Preview

At this stage none of the South African sides have sent out finalised Super Rugby squads. This is our current best guess at who is in which squad based off of multiple sources. We also have our Podcast out now with Paul Tait discussing the Jaguares, and the Elite Rugby banter fellas Adam and Matt helping work through the South African sides. Check out the pod below:


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Lions

Full squad:
Prop: Jacobie Adriaanse, Johannes Jonker, Danie Mienie, Carlü Sadie, Sti Sithole, Dylan Smith, Frans van Wyk, Nathan McBeth, Jan-Henning Campher, Asenathi Ntlabakanye
Hookers: Malcolm Marx, Robbie Coetzee
Locks: Lourens Erasmus, Rhyno Herbst, Robert Kruger, Stephan Lewies, Marvin Orie, Andries Ferreira, Ruan Vermaak
Flankers: Cyle Brink, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, Marnus SchoemanKwagga Smith 
No. 8s: Warren Whiteley 
Scrum-Halfs: Ross Cronjé, Nic Groom, Dillon Smit, Marco Jansen van Vuren
Fly-Halfs: Elton Jantjies, Shaun Reynolds, Gianni Lombard
Centres: Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Howard Mnisi, Manny Rass, Tyrone Green
Wings: Ruan Combrinck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Courtnall Skosan, Madosh Tambwe, Wandisile Simelane
Fullbacks: Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza

New Faces:
Danie Mienie (Toulouse), Carlu Sadie (Stormers), Stephan Lewies (Sharks), Frans van Wyk (Bulls), Wandisile Simelane, Marco Jansen van Vuren

Losses:
Ruan Dreyer (Gloucester), Corne Fourie (Stormers), Jacques Van Rooyen (Bath), Franco Mostert (Gloucester), Jaco Kriel (Gloucester), Marco Jansen Van Vuren (RSA 7s), Ashlon Davids (Pumas), Rohan Janse Van Rensburg (Sale)

Best 15:
Dylan Smith, Malcolm Marx, Jacobie Adriaanse, Stephan Lewies, Marvin Orie, Kwagga Smith, Cyle Brink, Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck, Andries Coetzee

Stocks are rising:
Dylan Smith – Scored well during his limited chances last year when he was stuck behind Van Rooyen, this year he should be the first choice loosehead, allowing him to score far more consistently.
Harold Vorster – Averaged only 20 points last year, but ranked the 16th centre in 2017 (32 AVG). Like for Smith above, the departure of Rohan Janse van Rensburg should allow Vorster to jump back into the top 16 centres this season.
Stephan Lewies – The former Sharks captain has been drafted in to replace Mostert, he averaged a respectable 21 points last year. Expect him to be doing a lot more work with ball in hand as he tries to fill Mostert’s giant shoes. The season ending injury to Erasmus will also mean a more heavy reliance on the experienced lock.

Stocks are falling:
Ruan Combrinck – In a real battle to keep his jersey with the return to fitness of fellow Springbok Skosan. If fit and starting Combrinck has the ability to be a game breaker, but he is another year older, and this year only one wing spot is uncertain as Dyantyi should have the other locked down.

Smokies:
Wandisile Simelane – You haven’t heard of him yet, but his highlights package from the Golden Lions last year was absolutely insane in the 13 jersey. With Mapoe and Mnisi weren’t convincing in 2018 so he could his start. Also plays wing. Check out the highlights video here.

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Jaguares

Full Squad:

New Faces:
Rodrigo Bruni, Dominic Miotti, Franco Molina (Jockey), Gaspar Baldunciel (Alumni), Domingo Miotti (Tucuman)
From the Pumas U20’s the following have been given contracts: Santiago Chocobares, Ignacio Mendy, Lucas Paulos, Santiago Carreras, Santiago Grondona, Lucio Sordoni and Mayco Vivas. The last four players were also selected for the Pumas in November.

Losses:
Nicolas Sanchez (Stade Francais), Juan Martin Hernandez (Retired), Franco Brarda (Tala), Nicolas Leiva (Hindu), Benjamin Macome (Tucuman), Leonardo Senatore (GER), Felipe Ezcurra (Leicester Tigers), Santiago Alvarez (Argentina 7s), Felipe Arregui (Duendes), Santiago Montagner (Injured),

Best 15:
Santiago Garcia Botta, Agustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Guido Petti, Matías Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Javier Ortega Desio, Gonzalo Bertranou, Santiago González Iglesias, Ramiro Moyano, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Matias Moroni, Bautista Delguy, Emiliano Boffelli

Stocks are rising:
Rodrigo Bruni – Has big wraps on him, after getting some game time for Argentina in 2018, we should see him feature prominently in the squad.
Tomás Cubelli – The former Brumbies halfback will have his work cut out for him, but if he can take the starting role of Bertranou he could be a really valuable smokey in 2019.
Joaquin “Tito” Diaz Bonilla – The favourite to take over Sanchez’ fly-half jersey. Joaquin has played 7s for Argentina, looks good attacking the line, has a sharp step and kicks goal.

Stocks are falling:
Matías Orlando – We couldn’t find room for him in the starting side now that Tuculet is back, Boffelli has to be in the starting side and we think his versatility will land him in the 13 jersey.
Agustin Creevy – Slipped from 1st in 2017 with a 47 AVG to 10th in 2018 with a 26.5 AVG. The combination of Creevy being rested more in a world cup year and the calls for Montoya to get more game time as he continues to improve, should mean Creevy continues to slide down the rankings.

Smokies:
Matias Moroni – There is plenty of competition, but Moroni started in the last 3 games of 2018 at both outside centre and wing after a return from injury. He was also preferred at outside centre in 5 of the 6 Rugby Championship games. He is a talented player, that could well make the 13 jersey his own. Where that leaves the outside backs combination I just don’t know!

Sharks

Full squad:
Props: Thomas du Toit, Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Mzamo Majola, John-Hubert Meyer, Coenie Oosthuizen, Juan Schoeman
Hookers: Akker van der Merwe, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Kerron van Vuuren
Locks: Hyron Andrews, Ruan Botha, Jean Droste, Gideon Koegelenberg, Ruben van Heerden
Flankers: Jean-Luc du Preez, Philip van der Walt, Tera Mtembu, Tyler Paul, Jacques Vermeulen, Wian Vosloo
No. 8s: Dan du Preez
Scrum-Halfs: Louis Schreuder, Cameron Wright, Grant Williams
Fly-Halfs: Curwin Bosch, Robert du Preez
Centres: Andre Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am, Marius Louw, Jeremy Ward, Johan Deysel
Wings: S’busiso Nkosi, Makazole Mapimpi, Lwazi Mvovo, Kobus van Wyk, Leolin Zas
Fullbacks: Rhyno Smith, Courtney Winnaar, Aphelele Fassi

New Faces:
Ruben Van Heerden (Bulls), Aphelele Fassi

Losses:
Ross Geldenhuys (Bay of Plenty), Franco Marais (Gloucester), Stephan Lewies (Lions), Keegan Daniel (Retired), Michael Claassens (Retired), Garth April (Shining Arcs), Tristan Blewett (Southern Kings), Johan Deysel (Colomiers)

Best 15:
Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Tyler Paul, Ruan Botha, Philip van der Walt, Jean-Luc du Preez, Dan du Preez, Louis Schreuder, Robert du Preez, S’busiso Nkosi, Andre Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch

Stocks are rising:
Makazole Mapimpi – Seemingly unwanted by the Sharks last year, he only played 10 games. He still managed 4 Springbok caps though, so surely he is a hot favourite to reclaim one wing spot this year. When he plays, he is the best scoring outside back for the Sharks by a long way.
Akker van der Merwe – Solidified himself as the starting hooker over Ralepelle last season. Even though he shared his time he still ranked 4th for hookers with a 35 AVG. Assuming he can continue to strengthen his hold on the starting jersey he could rise even higher.

Stocks are falling:
Thomas du Toit – had the tight head jersey all to himself in 2018, expect far more competition from Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen to rob him of consistent game time.
Lwazi Mvovo – The experienced wing/ fullback has not been a great fantasy pick for a few years now. I expect his game time to continue to fade away as he reaches true veteran status.

Smokies:
Tyler Paul – could be in the stocks rising or falling list, the versatile forward has the opportunity to hold down one locking position or even the openside flanker jersey. Chances are he will get a lot of bench time though, so I’d definitely avoid him early in your draft.

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Bulls

Full squad:
Props: Matthys Basson, Lizo Gqoboka, Madot Mabokela, Simphiwe Matanzima, Nqoba Mxoli, Trevor Nyakane, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Conraad van Vuuren
Hookers: Schalk Brits Johan GrobbelaarEdgar Marutlulle, Jaco Visagie
Locks: Lood de Jager, Jason Jenkins, RG Snyman, Hendré Stassen
Flankers: Tim Agaba, Thembelani Bholi, Nick de Jager, Carel du Preez(on trial), Jannes Kirsten, Paul Schoeman, Roelof Smit, Ruan Steenkamp, Muller Uys, Marco van Staden[
No. 8s: Hanro Liebenberg, Jano Venter, Duane Vermeulen
Scrum-Halfs: Theo Maree, Embrose Papier, Ivan van Zyl, André Warner
Fly-Halfs: Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok, Handré Pollard, Garth April
Centres: Stedman Gans, JT Jackson, Johnny Kôtze, Jesse Kriel, Franco Naudé, Burger Odendaal, Dylan Sage
Wings: Cornal Hendricks, Travis Ismaiel, Duncan Matthews, Rosko Specman, Jade Stighling
Fullbacks: Warrick Gelant, Divan Rossouw

New Faces:
Madot Mabokela (Blue Bulls), Dayan Van Der Westhuizen (Blue Bulls), Schalk Brits (Saracens), Carel Du Preez (Blue Bulls), Paul Schoeman (Cheetahs), Muller Uys (Wester Province U21), Jano Venter (Blue Bulls), Duane Vermeulen (Kubota Spears), Theo Maree (Blue Bulls), Stedman Gans (RSA 7s), Franco Naude (Blue Bulls), Dylan Sage (RSA 7s), Cornal Hendricks (RSA 7s), Rosko Specman (RSA 7s), Garth April (Sharks)

Losses:
Frans van Wyk (Lions) Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), Mornay Smith (Blue Bulls), Adriaan Strauss (retired), Aston Fortuin (Blue Bulls), Ruan Nortje (Blue Bulls), Ruben Van Heerden (Sharks), Shaun Adendorff (Aurillac), Boeta Hamman (Blue Bulls), Francois Brummer (Zebre), Dries Swanepoel (Cheetahs), Jamba Ulengo (released)

Best 15:
Lizo Gqoboka, Jaco Visagie, Trevor Nyakane, RG Snyman, Lood de Jager, Roelof Smit, Marco Van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Embrose Papier, Handre Pollard, Travis Ismaiel, Burger Odendaal, Jesse Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Warrick Gelant

Stocks are rising:
Duane Vermeulen – Let’s be honest, he was always going to be the top of this list. Vermuelen hasn’t played Super Rugby since 2015, but the 32 year old is an absolute beast, and last year was in ridiculous form! We will have to wait and see if he controls the jersey, or shares it with Hanro Liebenberg, but if he starts, he should rack up some insane points with tackle busts and offloads.
Schalk Brits – Another veteran so sign with the Bulls. Injuries to other hookers means he is likely to start for the first 8 weeks. A great value pick late in your draft!

Stocks are falling:
Jason Jenkins – Scored consistently well whenever he started in the back half of 2018. With the return to fitness of now captain Lood de Jager, Jenkins will again become a back up struggling for game time.
Trevor Nyakane – the 18th ranked prop in 2018, and top ranked Bulls prop is set for a big down turn in 2019 with the return of Lizo Gqoboka.

Smokies:
Rosko Specman – The 7s star wants to make a mark in the 15 a side game. There is no doubting his exceptional athleticism, but he’d have to find a way into the starting team to have a shot.

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Stormers

Full squad:
Props: Steven Kitshoff, Wilco Louw, Frans Malherbe, Corné Fourie, Kwenzo Blose, Neethling Fouché, Michael Kumbirai, Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, Alistair Vermaak
Hookers: Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Chad Solomon
Locks: Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Salmaan Moerat, JD Schickerling, Ernst van Rhyn, Chris van Zyl
Flankers: Johan du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Chris Massyn, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Cobus Wiese, Nama Xaba
No.8s: Juarno Augustus, Jaco Coetzee, Kobus van Dyk
Scrum-Halfs: Paul de Wet, Herschel Jantjies, Justin Phillips, Jano Vermaak
Fly-Halfs: Jean-Luc du Plessis, Joshua Stander, Damian Willemse
Centres: Damian de Allende, Daniël du Plessis, JJ Engelbrecht, Dan Kriel, Ruhan Nel, EW Viljoen
Wings: Dillyn Leyds, Sergeal Petersen, Duncan Saal, Seabelo Senatla, Edwill van der Merwe
Fullbacks: Craig Barry, SP Marais

New Faces:
Kwenzo Blose (Western Province U21), Corne Fourie (Lions), Michael Kumbirai (Western Province), Lee-Marvin Mazibuko (Western Province U21), Chad Solomon (Western Province), Ernst van Rhyn (Western Province), Chris Massyn (Western Province U21), Nama Xaba (Western Province U21), Ruhan Nel (RSA 7s), Duncan Saal (Western Province), Edwill van der Merwe (Western Province)

Losses:
JC Janse Van Rensburg (Grenoble), Caylib Oosthuizen (Western Province), Carlu Sadie (Lions), Dean Muir (Kintetsu Liners), Ramone Samuels (Western Province), Jan de Klerk (Canon Eagles), Eduard Zandberg (Retired), Stephen de Wit (Southern Kings), Nizaam Carr (Wasps), Dewaldt Duvenage (Benetton), George Whitehead (Griquas), Raymond Rhule (Grenoble)

Best 15:
Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Wilco Louw, Eben Etzebeth, JD Schickerling, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Jano Vermaak, Damian Willemse, Dillyn Leyds, Damian de Allende, Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen, SP Marais

Stocks are rising:
JD Schickerling – Looked to have huge potential at the start of last year before he injured his shoulder against the Crusaders. Played a lot like RG Snyman with real physicality and a solid running game.
Eben Etzebeth – The 4th ranked lock in 2017 with a 30 point average, only 3 behind Retallick and PSTD. He isn’t injured this year. Need i say more…
Jano Vermaak – The departure of Duvenage opens up the starting scrum half spot. Vermaak is an experienced head at 34 and may well be the top choice to partner the young gun Willemse in the halves.

Stocks are falling:
Jean-Luc du Plessis – Jean-Luc’s season hinges on what the Stormers do with Willemse. Although they only had a short period where they were both fit in 2018, I expect Willemse will force him to start most games on the bench.
JJ Engelbrecht – Solid without being spectacular in 2018, he may still be the everywhere man for the Stormers this season, however I’d expect that he won’t log nearly as many minutes this time around.

Smokies:
Ruhan Nel – The sevens gun will be battling it out against Engelbrecht and Viljoen to start at Outside Centre. Now focusing on 15s full time, he managed to usurp Engelbrecht in the Currie Cup despite missing the tour to France for his wedding. The man is big, strong, and throws a nice offload.

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Written by Harrison Dale

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