Jasper Wiese ban may open Springbok No 8 door for Evan Roos

Jasper Wiese will miss six Springbok Tests after receiving a suspension for foul play while on duty for Leicester. Photo: BackpagePix

Jasper Wiese will miss six Springbok Tests after receiving a suspension for foul play while on duty for Leicester. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 24, 2024


A bad week for Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus just got worse with the news that No 8 Jasper Wiese will miss the first six Test matches of 2024 because of suspension.

Earlier this week, Erasmus learned that fullback Damian Willemse will miss a similar period of international rugby because of a finger injury that requires surgery.

Two weeks ago, the Bok coach watched midfielder Lukhanyo Am crock his shoulder playing for the Sharks, and he will miss at least the two matches against visiting Ireland in the first half of July.

On the injury list for some time are another No 8 in Kwagga Smith, loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff, hooker Malcolm Marx, flank Deon Fourie and two scrumhalves in Faf de Klerk and Jaden Hendrikse.

Wiese was the natural successor to the retired Duane Vermeulen, and Erasmus will be annoyed at how he has lost Wiese.

The hard-running former Cheetahs loose forward was playing for Leicester at the weekend in the final round of the English Premiership when he lost his senses and picked up and dumped Exeter loose forward Ross Vincent head first to the ground.

England’s governing body, the Rugby Football Union (RFU), said that Wiese had been found guilty of “lifting another player off the ground and dropping or driving that player so that their head makes contact with the ground, contrary to World Rugby Law 9.18”.

Wiese was shown a red card in the 67th minute, and the subsequent judicial hearing threw the book at him.

Because Leicester did not make the Premiership play-offs, Wiese’s ban starts with the Springbok calendar – and he will miss the friendly against Wales in London on June 22, the home series against Ireland, the visit of Portugal and the two away Rugby Championship matches against Australia.

The unavailability of World Cup winners Vermeulen, Wiese and Smith throws open the competition for the No 8 jersey for the Wales friendly and the first Test against Ireland in Pretoria on July 6.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and Erasmus has to go for a newcomer.

Among the top contenders is Stormers No 8 Evan Roos. He is in good form and has learned from the mistakes that had him in the Bok fold and then dropped – he is not as reckless and ill-disciplined as he has been in the past.

The 24-year-old’s extreme physicality makes him ideal for the abrasive Irish.

The Bulls have uncovered a diamond in 21-year-old Cameron Hanekom, and he is certain to get Springbok colours at some stage this year.

He is a rare talent, and is good on both sides of the ball. His ability to read the game is probably his best attribute.

Elrigh Louw is another excellent Bulls loose forward, and while flank is his natural position, he has played No 8. He could well add to his three Bok caps sooner rather than later.

Outsiders for the No 8 position include the Sharks’ Phepsi Buthelezi and Francke Horn of the Lions.

It is not impossible for Erasmus to consider one of the Du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Dan, both of whom have played No 8 and lock for the Sale Sharks.

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