Have Boks found their successor to Vermeulen?

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In recent weeks, the South African teams have begun to flex their muscles in the United Rugby Championship (URC), with the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions all picking up some impressive wins. There is no doubt that the Boks’ coaching staff will have been keeping a close eye on these recent performances, particularly as the incoming July Tests against Wales draw closer.

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It’s been impossible to overlook the consistent form of 22-year-old Evan Roos, who was nominated as the SA Rugby Young of the Year in 2021, and has continued to make a meaningful impact at the start of this year.

Currently, he is the only player this season to have accumulated over 1000 carry metres in the URC, while he also ranks third for total carries made (145).

Just last weekend, he was named the Man of the Match as the Stormers claimed a memorable win over an Ulster side that included incumbent Springbok No 8 Duane Vermeulen.

Roos is one of the youngsters who is expected to join the Boks when they begin their training and alignment camps

Roos – who can cover all three back-row positions as well as lock – looks best suited to the No 8 position, and offers another highly appealing option for the Boks.

Vermeulen is now 35 years old and while he is expected to have a key role to play at the 2023 World Cup, the Boks will be keen to begin exploring their depth at No 8, with Roos and the Bulls’ Elrigh Louw certainly looking like prime candidates.

Recently, Roos’ try against the Scarlets recently demonstrated just why he is so highly regarded, with the youngster boasting pace and power in equal measure.

He’s the sort of “warrior” who is sure to be on the radar of Bok bosses Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus, who will be thrilled with the local talent emerging in the back row department.

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