Roos rise conjures ‘what if’ Augustus remained in SA: ‘It helps your Bok chances to stay’

Juarno Augustus in action for Northampton Saints. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Juarno Augustus in action for Northampton Saints. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

  • Evan Roos has usurped Juarno Augustus’ position as possible Duane Vermeulen heir after being named to start for the Springboks against Wales this weekend.
  • Augustus, because of his physique, was initially touted to be one of the Vermeulen heirs but since leaving for England, Jasper Wiese has also risen to prominence.
  • Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani said “Trokkie” could have benefitted from staying in SA a little longer, like Salmaan Moerat and Marvin Orie have done.

Before Evan Roos became the bellowing soon-to-be Springbok back-rower, many thought by this point in the World Cup cycle it would be Juarno Augustus’ name writ large in a Test starting XV.

In physique and stature, Augustus looked your archetypal Duane Vermeulen stunt double and was touted to quickly ascend to the top position, if not before France 2023, then soon after.

Augustus also featured in the Springbok green team against the gold team in September 2020, when the national brains trust got to see him close up.

READ | Bok debutant Roos expected to be same physical self: ‘Like Pieter-Steph, he never has an off game’

However, since his move from the Stormers to English outfit Northampton Saints last year, Jasper Wiese, Roos, and Elrigh Louw have all been brought closer to the fold than the 24-year-old.

Stormers forwards coach Rito Hlungwani perfectly encapsulated how and why the man nicknamed “Trokkie” – truck, for all the obvious physical reasons – has since slipped out of view from national selectors.

“The mindset around the Springboks is that, to make it into the team while you’re playing overseas, you have to be first or second choice,” Hlungwani said.

“If Evan was playing overseas, I don’t think he would have made the squad. They have to support the guys that choose to stay.

“Juarno could have made it but he can still make it at a later stage. He might start playing just as well as Jasper in the next few years and make it.

“I think it helps to stay longer in South Africa.

“Salmaan (Moerat) had offers as well and chose to stay, now he’s a Springbok, so did Marvin (Orie), who also decided to stay.

“It does help a little more regarding your chances. If you’re still trying to make it into the Bok squad, it gets a bit tougher if you’re not in the country.”

Augustus’ departure from the Stormers not only opened up the No 8 jersey in Cape Town but a spot for one of the upcoming back-row forwards in the national team.

Roos is one of the six uncapped players readied by Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber to face Wales in Bloemfontein this Saturday.

Kick-off is at 17:05.

Springbok team:

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Thomas du Toit

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Deon Fourie, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Damian Willemse