Evan Roos received a large vote of confidence from a man who knows Springbok No. 8 when he sees one. DYLAN JACK reports.
Despite his fierce performances for the Stormers this season, Roos initially appeared to have been left out of the Springbok plans because he was not invited to the first of the three vice camps, during which the coaches laid out the plans for the upcoming Test campaign.
However, a striking performance against the Glasgow Warriors in April, when he scored a try in the final game minute to secure the Stormers extra point, earned Roos his place in the second Bok camp. Rassie Erasmus even praised the talented loose forward due to his efforts against Glasgow.
Speaking at a URC media conference, former Stormers and Springbok loose Skinstad, who paid attention to Roos in his role as a commentator for Premier Sports, was asked if the 22-year-old would fit into international rugby.
“We watch Evan Roos week after week. We keep going, ‘Jeepers, how strong he is!’ ”Said Skinstad. “He just gets those extra three or four yards and then sometimes unloads a little bit, which creates the gap. Once you are behind the opposition’s win line, then you can open it.
“Evan Roos agrees [Stormers] pack perfectly. He was well positioned by John Dobson and Rito Hlungwani as a ball carrier in the wider channels. He is an amazing finisher when he has five or six meters to go. He’s hard to stop, he’s proven that in the last two games.
“I think he would be a valuable asset to the Springboxes. I’m not sure if he can suddenly start in that position because they’ve had a surprisingly loose success over the last two years. I would imagine that if he was in and around the squad, coming from the bench, he would want to influence the team and it would be good for everyone involved. “
After finishing second in the URC playing eye-catching rugby, this Stormers team was compared to the “Men in Black” of the 1999 Super Rugby campaign.
Skinstad was part of that team, which also finished second on the table and advanced to the semifinals, where they were beaten by the Highlanders at Newlands.
“They play as well as, if not better, and the players are bigger and stronger than us,” said Skinstad, when asked about his thoughts on the current Stormers team. “I was excited to watch the Stormers play. That counter-attack rugby … they’re trying to score as many points as they can. They try to win by having more attempts as opposed to squeezing opposition. That makes for exciting games.
“Leolin Zas has the most tries this season, but he was a wonderful finisher after good breaks from the guys in him. They have a big, strong back and they use their creativity. But the beauty for me is the connection between carrying on like Evan Roos.
“They have ends inside and out. Not taking anything away from guys like Ruhan Nell.
“I’m seriously excited about them as a team. The way they play, I think it’s good for the tournament.”
The Capetonians face Edinburgh in the quarter-finals of the URC in Cape Town on Saturday, where Skinstad says the hosts must adhere to the game plan that has served them so well this season.
“I think the Stormmen will be nervous. They will be preparing for an attack by Edinburgh, who have been standing in some really tough games this season and making performances.
“The Stormmen will have to wait for that. They will have to play the game they found most successful. If they try to change their plan and start conceding to Edinburgh, it will be a big, rough battle ahead and if they don’t play their wide open game, then they will have problems.
“If the Stormers play 10 out of 10 and Edinburgh play 10 out of 10, then the Stormers will find it at home.”
Photo: Twitter / @ Springboks