Johannesburg — The opportunity to see Evan Roos in full flow, making bruising runs and crunching tackles in the colours of the green and gold, will get another viewing this weekend when the Springboks face England at Twickenham.
The 22-year-old will earn his third cap for the Boks against England on Saturday (7.30pm kickoff), and he will no doubt feel that there is still much to prove.
It will be the second Test start for the Stormers No 8, and while he has rocked and rolled for the Cape-based side, especially in the United Rugby Championship, he has yet to transfer that form with the national team.
Of course, the step up to international rugby is huge, and can take some time, so there is arguably only a little pressure on Roos to have a blinder of an outing this weekend. His career, after all, still has a long road ahead of it.
Nevertheless, starting for the Boks in the No 8 jersey at the spiritual home of rugby shows a degree of faith in Roos’ abilities and he will want to repay that selection with an ever-improving performance.
Moreover, a good showing by the blond bombshell could widen his path to the World Cup in France next year. Jasper Wise should be the main man for the No 8 jersey – if his form holds – then, while there will also be a contest to unseat Duane Vermeulen.
Vermeulen was mentioned again by Bok coach Jacques Nienaer at Tuesday’s team announcement, so he remains a viable option and is very much in the forefront of the coach's mind. Kwagga Smith, who will be on the bench for the clash against England, has also covered the back of the scrum, although his role is arguably more of an impact player on the flanks, than the preferred No 8.
Roos, therefore, needs a good showing, one that improves on all he has done before.
“It is playing in the deep end, but it is a great opportunity. I am happy that the coaches have given me the chance,” Roos said on Tuesday.
“I am looking forward to it. It is one of the best places in the world to play rugby. I am more excited than anything else.”
Roos will, in all probability, come up against veteran, war-horse, and Test hardman Billy Vunipola in a classic match-up of old hand and master versus the apprentice and student.
“Billy is a very good player,” said Roos. “He is quality and it is going to be lekker to play against a guy like him and to measure myself against him.”