United Rugby Championship

Evan Roos v Elrigh Louw: The highly anticipated battle of future Bok No 8 enforcers

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Evan Roos on the charge against the Bulls in Pretoria. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Evan Roos on the charge against the Bulls in Pretoria. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • Two of South Africa's future No 8's will stare each other down on Saturday in a north-south derby in Cape Town.
  • 22-year-old's Evan Roos and Elrigh Louw are proving to be an important match-up in the context of the actual game, and future Springbok prospects.
  • According to URC statistics, there is very little that separates the two players.

When Ulster rolled into the country for their recent United Rugby Championship (URC) commitments, the question was how protégé's Evan Roos and Elrigh Louw would square up against Duane Vermeulen.

The post is out for who will replace the incumbent Springbok No 8 and the best way to join the queue of replacements is to play against him.

No doubt both players put in impressive performances against the former Stormers and Bulls captain.

Rob Houwing | SA's URC coaches: Dobson is the big mover

In this weekend's latest instalment of the north-south derby, Roos and Louw will come up against each other at a time when the Test calendar edges closer, setting the scene for a mouthwatering battle in Cape Town.

Earlier this week, Stormers assistant coach Rito Hlungwani said he's been pleased with Roos' commitment to getting his game better each week.

"We sat here a couple of weeks ago and our mindset is still the same: we want to improve his game overall. It was nice to see him operate defensively over the past two games and we are happy with it; we are looking for small improvements every week regardless of who we play."

Up in Pretoria, Louw inked a new deal this week, keeping him at Loftus until 2027. 

Bulls director of rugby Jake White did not hesitate to call Louw a future Springbok:

This is important not only for the Bulls, where Elrigh is set to grow and become an integral part of the team, but also for South African rugby. We believe that Elrigh is a certain future Springbok, who can go on to play many Test matches for the Boks. It is also great to see such talent choosing to remain in South Africa despite being sought-after by some of the top clubs globally.

There was a tongue-in-cheek moment from Stormers captain Steven Kitshoff on Wednesday when he was asked how the Capetonians would handle the threat of Louw, who has been a key part of the Bulls' attractive mix between backs and forwards over the past few weeks.

"Can you stop Elrigh Louw?", a journalist asked Kitshoff.

"Can you stop Evan Roos?", the captain quipped.

After the laughter had calmed, Kitshoff said: "He's a good player and we know his strength when it comes to ball carrying.

"A big part of our game is gainline and backing our defensive structures. I think he's going to come at us, but we’re ready."

Saturday's game gets underway at 14:00.

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