Cape Town - With six teams in Currie Cup action this weekend, there are several players who will want big performances to catch the eye of Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus.
The Currie Cup has been dramatically shortened this year and each of the seven unions will only play each other once, but the tournament still provides a platform to impress and strive for higher honours.
The Boks are currently in Argentina preparing for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against the Pumas in Mendoza, and they travelled there with a squad of 28 players.
With a little over a year to go until the start of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, anyone not currently in the Bok set-up in South America will know that they have work to do to get there.
Here, we look at TEN fringe Springboks who will be desperate to catch Erasmus' eye this weekend. Pics from Gallo.
1. Ross Cronje (Golden Lions v Griquas)
The Springbok No 9 jersey belongs to Faf de Klerk and it will be his all the way through to the 2019 World Cup. Erasmus must take three scrumhalves to the tournament, though, and the race for those places is on. Embrose Papier and Ivan van Zyl (both Bulls) are currently in Argentina while Cronje was left at home to captain the Golden Lions against Griquas on Friday night. There is no doubt that Cronje would rather be in Mendoza, but he has an opportunity to put in a commanding display for his province. Cronje was the first-choice Bok No 9 under Allister Coetzee in 2017, replacing De Klerk. Erasmus is aware of his ability, but now the time has come for him to knock the door down and force his way in.
2. Marvin Orie (Golden Lions v Griquas)
You had to feel for the 25-year-old lock on Saturday as he was the only unused substitute on the Springbok bench in their win over Argentina in Durban. Orie looked on as Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit played 80 minutes each. Now, with Franco Mostert back, Orie has been left in South Africa. Erasmus rates him as a lineout specialist and that is where he must thrive on Friday night. The Golden Lions need a flawless display at lineout time with Orie dominating if he is to work his way back into the mix ahead of the Springboks' Australasian tour next month. The competition in the Springbok second row is intense, and Orie will know that better than anyone.
3. Courtnall Skosan (Golden Lions v Griquas)
The 27-year-old has had a difficult year with injuries that have ultimately cost him his place in the Bok set-up. Also a regular under Allister Coetzee, Skosan notched up 12 Test caps in 2017. The road back to the national jersey seems a difficult one, though, because of the quality the Boks currently have out wide. Aphiwe Dyantyi is setting the world alight while Makazole Mapimpi and the injured S'bu Nkosi have also been highly impressive with their opportunities. Then there are the likes of Travis Ismaiel, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Combrinck and Dillyn Leyds. The only way Skosan can catch Erasmus’ attention is with a string of solid Currie Cup performances.
4. Andries Coetzee (Golden Lions v Griquas)
Another player backed by Allister Coetzee last year, Andries Coetzee started all 13 of South Africa's Test matches in 2017. He had a largely impressive Super Rugby season in 2018, but it wasn't enough to get back into the Bok set-up. Instead, Erasmus is backing Willie le Roux as his first-choice No 15 while Damian Willemse and Warrick Gelant are also well ahead of Coetzee in the pecking order. Coetzee, linked heavily with a move abroad, has committed to the Lions for another year, making his intentions to make a play at the World Cup squad clear.
5. Curwin Bosch (Sharks v Blue Bulls)
Bosch is a player that needs a good, solid run of form at Currie Cup and Super Rugby level. He has two Test caps to his name, but currently finds himself nowhere near the Springbok set-up. The good news is that he is still just 21-years-old, and the future is bright. As mentioned above, there are no shortage of fullback options for Erasmus, so if Bosch is going to feature at the World Cup he will have to do a lot in a Sharks jersey over the next 12 months.
6. Jesse Kriel (Sharks v Blue Bulls)
The standout performer from the Boks' woeful display against England in the 3rd Test at Newlands back in June, Kriel has not featured in the next two Tests. He is battling Lukhanyo Am and Lionel Mapoe for the Bok No 13 jersey. Kriel, who offers options at wing and fullback too, will feature in the Rugby Championship, but he can provide a timely reminder of his ability with a slick performance against the Sharks at Kings Park on Saturday.
Currie Cup fixtures:
Lions v Griquas - 19:00
Sharks v Blue Bulls - 15:00
Western Province v Free State - 17:15