Springboks

Rassie will have close eye on Europe this weekend

Rassie Erasmus (Gallo)
Rassie Erasmus (Gallo)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will be watching this weekend's French Top 14 semi-finals with a fair amount of interest.

There are a number of South Africans expected to be involved, and with Erasmus set to name his squad for the June Internationals this Saturday, this will be the last chance for some of the overseas contenders to prove their worth ahead of the international season.

On Friday night, Montpellier host Lyon. 

Of particular interest to South African rugby fans will be the performances of hooker Bismarck du Plessis and centre Frans Steyn

Both players are expected to be a part of Erasmus's plans this year and Du Plessis has become even more important to the Bok cause now that Malcolm Marx has been ruled out of the June Tests with injury.

Steyn, meanwhile, last played a Test for South Africa in June last year and his versatility means he can provide experienced cover at flyhalf, centre and fullback. 

Jannie du Plessis is also at Montpellier, while a dark horse for a return to the Bok set-up for June could be scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar

Locks Paul Willemse and Nico Janse van Rensburg, fullback Henry Immelman and flank Wiaan Liebenberg have also featured for Montpellier this season, but less regularly. 

Lyon also boast a number of South Africans who could feature - Deon Fourie, Etienne Oosthuizen and Francois van der Merwe - but none of those players are expected to come into the Springbok equation. 

In Saturday's second semi-final between Racing 92 and Castres, Erasmus would have been hoping to get a kook at Pat Lambie

A knee injury, though, has ruled Lambie out for a long time and he will not be part of the Bok set-up this year. 

Over in England, meanwhile, the Aviva Premiership final will be contested between Exeter and Saracens. 

Prop Vincent Koch and hooker Schalk Brits will turn out for Saracens, while there are no South Africans in the Exeter ranks.

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