Skinstad: You can’t coach Roos’ passion, but don’t forget Augustus

‘I think he is a great player who plays with his heart on his sleeve,’ Bob Skinstad said about Evan Roos. Photo: BackpagePix

‘I think he is a great player who plays with his heart on his sleeve,’ Bob Skinstad said about Evan Roos. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 29, 2024


Former Springbok captain and No 8 Bob Skinstad believes that Evan Roos’ confrontational style is “not a problem in the long run” for him to become a stalwart in the national team.

Following Duane Vermeulen’s retirement and Jasper Wiese’s six-match suspension for foul play, the South African No 8 jersey is up for grabs for the opening Tests of the year against Wales and Ireland.

And while Japan-based Kwagga Smith said at the weekend that he has recovered from a serious groin injury and is fit to play, Skinstad feels that Roos has done enough for the Stormers to warrant strong consideration from Bok boss Rassie Erasmus.

The world champions kick off their year against Wales in London on June 22, followed by Tests against Ireland in Pretoria and Durban on July 6 and 13.

“Recently, that long-range try from (Sharks No 8) Phepsi Buthelezi just reminded me of how much talent there is out there, talent to burn,” Skinstad said, on a media call for the United Rugby Championship yesterday.

“Are we going to see an evolution of Roos from a general squad player into a player that can step into that role permanently? Are we going to see a guy like Phepsi become a person that is always picked?

“There are some interesting players leading the stats. For me, the number of carries that we’ve seen from loose forwards ... Roos is up there.

“A number of line-out steals, defenders beaten – we are seeing a lot of loose forwards in that space, with Roos again up there with (Hacjivah) Dayimani, who can also play eight.

“But with Jasper out, it’s something that the guys have to put front and centre. Those are probably the leaders at the moment.”

— DHL Stormers (@THESTORMERS) May 20, 2024

The 24-year-old Roos does have three Test caps to his name, but missed out on last year’s World Cup squad as Erasmus opted for quicker loose forwards, such as Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden and Deon Fourie. But he may have the edge as a specialist No 8 in the absence of Wiese – and his robust nature is welcomed by Skinstad.

“I think he is a great player who plays with his heart on his sleeve. He’s given away one or two penalties – I haven’t seen it as a persistent problem,” the 47-year-old Stormers legend said.

“He’s super-passionate, and that’s the bit that you can’t coach. The bit that you can coach is the discipline and what they’re doing in the broader spectrum.

“I certainly don’t think that’s a problem for him in the long run. He would fit into any international team around the world at the moment.”

When asked about the Bok claims of another former Stormers player, Northampton No 8 Juarno Augustus, Skinstad said: “I hope so (that he is considered). I really hope so, because he has been playing such fantastic rugby. He’s been really putting in the time and effort over here (in England).”

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