Springboks

3 Boks who need to perform in Europe

Andries Coetzee (Gallo)
Andries Coetzee (Gallo)

Cape Town - The Springbok team for the first Test against Ireland will be named at 17:00 (SA time) on Thursday and there are a number of areas where coach Allister Coetzee will have had a lot to think about. 

The Boks go into the match as underdogs and memories of last year's European venture, where they lost all four of their Tests, are still fresh. 

There is no doubt that the Bok class of 2017 has shown significant improvement since the horrors of last year, but this tour will determine whether or not this international season has been a success. 

With a largely new-look side doing the business so far this year, Coetzee has been relatively consistent in his team selection up until now. 

That said, there are a few players who need to put in some big performances over the next few weeks if they are to cement their places in the side as the journey to 2019 continues. 

Here, we identify THREE players who are fighting for their places in the team on this tour. (PICS: Gallo).

ANDRIES COETZEE

The Lions fullback has been backed in every Test match so far this year. His form in Super Rugby made him the logical choice at the start of the year once the Boks had parted ways with Willie le Roux. Coetzee has been solid for the most part, but his tactical kicking game has let him down at times, raising questions over his long-term influence in the position. Accurate and intelligent kicking, as well as fielding countless high balls, will be Coetzee's big test on this tour. He always plays with a lot of heart, but over the next few Tests he needs to be the banker the Boks need in their last line of defence. 

COURTNALL SKOSAN

The left wing has had some impressive performances in Bok colours this year. He has also been backed in every starting line-up so far and has certainly showed glimpses of the attacking threats that made his such a highly-rated Super Rugby player for the Lions. But defence, aerial ability and his kicking game will be tested in Europe and Skosan needs to show that he is about more than just raw pace and skill. Skosan has a fantastic opportunity to make the Bok No 11 jersey his own as the build-up to 2019 continues, but he needs a string of good performances over the next few weeks first. 

ROSS CRONJE

The Springbok scrumhalf conundrum post-Fourie du Preez continues. Public opinion on Cronje is polarised. Those signing his praises reckon he does the basics better than anyone while others suggest his delivery is too slow. The truth is that there is not a lot of depth in the position. Rudy Paige, however, has been impressive off the bench on more than one occasion this year and he will be itching for a start. Cronje's game management will be under the spotlight in Europe. He needs to take the right decisions and execute. He, like Skosan, has a fantastic opportunity to make his position his own. 

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