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Ken Borland

Smit to Roos: Stay close to the line without overstepping it 0

Posted on December 07, 2022 by Ken

Former Springbok World Cup winning captain John Smit has advised fiery Stormers eighthman Evan Roos to find a way to keep his passion on the field, but stay close to the line without overstepping it when it comes to ill-discipline.

Roos, who made his Springbok debut against Wales this year, was yellow-carded last weekend for an off-the-ball tussle, that saw him lean his elbow on his opposite number’s neck, in the 52nd minute of the Stormers’ win over Edinburgh.  It came at a bad time when the Stormers were under pressure, and it allowed the Scottish team to close the gap to 13-17.

Overseas critics have accused the 22-year-old of being unnecessarily confrontational, some calling his play dangerous and thuggish.

“Evan is a player who is really driven internally and he needs to find a way to control that emotion,” Smit said when asked at a Vodacom United Rugby Championship media call how he would handle a player like Roos if he were captain.

“Players get away with absolutely nothing these days, the most aggressive thing you’ll see on a field now is someone grabbing a collar and looking angry.

“Eben Etzebeth does it very well, controlling his passion right up to the end point of not getting in trouble. Evan needs to somehow know how to bottle that passion, and you don’t want to temper his enthusiasm.

“He just needs to be told though that losing control won’t just cost him but the team too. I would tell him that the angrier he gets, the more the team’s ability to succeed is diminished,” Smit said.

Smit of course had arguably rugby’s hardest ever enforcer to rely on to lay down the law in Bakkies Botha. But sometimes it took all of Smit’s considerable leadership wisdom to keep the legendary lock on the field.

“I had a few players in the Springbok team who sometimes suffered from over-stimulation!” Smit laughed. “Take Bakkies. Whenever I wanted to try gee up the team in the changeroom, I would wait for Bakkies to go to the toilet or get his knee strapped, otherwise my team talk would make him a bit over-zealous in the first five minutes! And that would be to our detriment.”

Inspirational Roos has much to offer in Bok squad – Skinstad 0

Posted on July 04, 2022 by Ken

Stormers great Bob Skinstad played 24 Tests in South Africa’s No.8 jersey and he believes his former team’s current eighthman, Evan Roos, has much to offer in a Springboks squad.

Roos is an integral part of the Stormers team that will be playing in the United Rugby Championship quarterfinals this weekend, hosting Edinburgh in Cape Town, but he will also be thinking about the possibility of being named in the Springbok squad for the first time. National coach Jacques Nienaber has said he will only announce his squad once the playoffs are over.

Skinstad, who played 42 Tests in all and was one of the best ball-players South African rugby has ever seen, said on Monday that he is thrilled by the expansive rugby the Stormers backs are playing, but said it is inspired by the work of the forwards on their inside.

“I love watching the Stormers matches because they are playing such great counter-attacking rugby. They’re trying to win by scoring more points than the opposition, rather than by just squeezing them.

“Leolin Zas is the leading try-scorer in the competition and an amazing finisher, but he’s doing it off the breaks of the players inside him. The beauty of the Stormers’ play is the linking between their carrying forwards.

“Like Evan Roos, who gets those extra three or four metres and then puts in the little offload, which can really break open the game. He also brings ball-carrying in the wide channels and is very hard to stop from five metres out.

“Evan would be an asset for the Springboks, although he won’t just necessarily burst into the starting line-up. But he can certainly add value in and around the squad, or even off the bench,” Skinstad, who is part of the Premier Sports broadcast team for the URC, said.

With more peace in the Western Province RFU boardroom these days and the team having done so well in the URC, Skinstad also said the Stormers, with an eye on the European Champions Cup next season, should be prime candidates for the sort of equity partners that have elevated the Sharks and Bulls.

“The Stormers have been in a bit of a state of flux lately, but their results have not been bad now, so there is a germ of real value there. If I was a big sports group I would really think there’s incredible value there.

“They have an incredible player base, school system, stadium and Cape Town is an amazing place,” Skinstad said.

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