When it comes to English sport, there are a few things we are not discussing in the office this week. Rugby is NOT one of them. With an incredible 3–0 series whitewash ‘down under’ – England Rugby has never looked better.
And Head Coach, Eddie Jones, is adamant that it’s just the beginning.
They showed fitness, toughness and they were brave. It’s a great start for us, but only the start, we realise that.
Eddie Jones, englandrugby.com
And with a nice long break until the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Twickenham in November, the England team have plenty of time to prepare for the first match against South Africa.
But what kind of team will they be taking on?
Birthdate: 18 November 1985
Despite spending much of his career playing second fiddle to the likes of South African legends John Smit and Bismarck Du Plessis, the bustling Bulls hooker cemented his place during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In May 2016, Strauss was announced as the new Springbok captain, taking over from Fourie du Preez.
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Birthdate: 20 August 1992
After winning the IRB Junior World Cup with the Springboks in 2012, du Toit made his full international debut against Wales in 2013 at the age of 21. Equally devastating as a flanker or lock, du Toit is an imposing figure who will contend with Lood de Jager and Eben Etzebeth for a starting place in the 2nd row.
Birthdate: 1 August 1990
Talented fly half Jantjies made his Springbok debut in 2012 but struggled to replicate his sensational form until the 2016 Super Rugby season for the Golden Lions. With so many question marks over who should start in the number 10 Springbok jersey, current incumbent Jantjies could well be the man to take South Africa forward.
Faf de Klerk
Birthdate: 19 October 1991
Known for his bullet pass, the scrum half only made his international debut in June 2016 against Ireland after having starred for the Golden Lions in Super Rugby. A hard-working player who often breaks around the fringes, de Klerk is one to watch in the quest to fill the boots of Fourie du Preez.
Birthdate: 13 July 1988
Equally adept as a centre or winger, the versatile Mapoe made his Springbok debut in 2015. Despite being left out of the Rugby World Cup 2015 squad, Mapoe (alongside Golden Lions team mates Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies) was selected by new Springbok coach, Allister Coetzee, for the three match series against Ireland in June 2016.