Of all our older players Eben tops the list as most indispensable player followed by Am and Pollard
I say this as replacements for them have yet to be established
In my opinion Eben is the best lock to ever play the game so to replace him will take some doing. There are some good young locks around as there always are in SA so it’s going to be interesting to see who puts their hand up the highest. Big fan of Jason Jenkins, want to see him invested in moving forward. Others include Moerat, Ruan Vermaak, Ruben Schoeman and Andre Smith.
Pollard showed how vital he is in the WC, we have a more than handy deputy in Libbok, but until he can nail his kicks, question marks remain. Time will tell.
Am at 13 has a few years left in him but we need to unearth a similar player with the same skill and rugby intellect as Am. Kriel was a WC stop gap and did a solid job mostly defensively - we need clout on attack. Thankfully we have seen Moodie get a taste at 13 at test level, that investment needs to continue both at provincial and test level. He is the answer especially once he has added 5kg to his respectable 94kg frame.
Elsewhere we are pretty much covered in terms of younger back ups that have had a taste
At fullback, Willie has already been replaced by Willemse and if not Willemse because he is being employed elsewhere then we have Gelant and Fassi
On the wing, Mapimpi has already been replaced by Arendse and hopefully we see the return of the impressive Nkosi who is only 27.
At inside centre, de Allende can be replaced by Esterhuizen, who at 29 has a few years left in him but we also need to be identifying a younger player as his back up. Again Willemse could feature here. We also need to get Rickus Pretorious back from Japan
At scrumhalf Faf and Reinach have a handful of worthy young candidates to replace them, headed by Williams and followed by Hendrikse, Jantjies, Papier, Nohamba and Burger
At loosehead Kitshoff is easily replaced by Ox who deserves and extended run as a starter. The impressive Gerhard Steenkamp is a handy back up.
At hooker, Bongi as Marx’s backup can be replaced by Dweba or Grobelaar or Venter or Kotze
At tighthead Malherbe, Koch and Nyakane can be replaced by Thomas du Toit and Wilco Louw
At 5, Lood and Mostert should have already been replaced by the incredibly impressive RG Snyman, with Ruben v Heerden looking very good for the Stormers
At openside Kolisi could be replaced by Kwagga but unfortunately Kwagga is already 30. I’m a big fan of Buthelezi playing 6, not your traditional 6 but more of a Kolisi type. We don’t really have a young out and out fetcher coming through.
At blindside, PSDT could be replaced by JL du Preez or Ruan Venter or Vincent Tsituka or Ben Jason-Dixon
At 8, Vermeulen needs to be replaced by one of Roos, Wiese, Dan du Preez, Emmanuel Tsituka or Hanekom
All our bases seemed to be covered we just need to make sure these youngsters are introduced and invested in sooner than later