Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
2 minute read
2 Jun 2021
10:35 am

Is Jasper Wiese going to be one of the surprise Bok picks?

Rudolph Jacobs

Along with the Leicester Tigers man the names of the former Sharks players, twins Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez, have also been linked to the Boks.

Jasper Wiese (with the ball) of Leicester Tigers, and formerly the Cheetahs, could be a surprise inclusion in the greater Springbok squad this weekend. Picture: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Is the explosive No 8 Jasper Wiese set to be one of the surprise inclusions in the Springbok squad this weekend?

Being nine years his junior, has incumbent eighthman Duane Vermeulen got some competition?

The 45-man Bok squad for the tour by the British and Irish Lions is due to be named on Saturday and Wiese could be one of the new caps named after a number of sterling performances in England where he plays for Leicester Tigers.

The first choice loose-trio for the Boks in the opening Lions Test is likely to be kept intact with captain Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit on the flanks and the influential Vermeulen at No 8.

But what would happen if Du Toit and Vermeulen for instance went down with injury; who would be the natural back-ups?

The younger brother of former Stormers lock Cobus Wiese, who is also playing in England, Wiese has been mentioned as the likely backup to Vermeulen with his powerful ball-carries and relentless work on defence having caught the eye.

Along with Wiese the names of the former Sharks players, twins Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez, have also been linked to the Boks following their strong and physical performances for the Sale Sharks in England.

What counts in the favour of this trio of players is that they can all also cover at lock, while Wiese is also very capable to help out at blindside flank with his imposing frame of 110kg and 1.90m in length.

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The 25-year-old Wiese came to prominence after joining the Cheetahs shortly after finishing school in Upington.

Wiese, who also starred for CUT Ixias in the Varsity Cup, played senior rugby for the Cheetahs from 2017 to 2020 and was a member of the squad which won the Currie Cup in 2019.

But everything happened for Wiese when he joined the Tigers. He made his debut against Gloucester after only four days with his new team and immediately impressed with his powerful carrying.

He was named Man of the Match by broadcaster BT Sport for his performance against Bath in January 2021 and his performances have drawn comparisons with Vermeulen.

In February Wiese scored Leicester’s first try in a win against Wasps but he was sent off in the first half for hitting an opponent’s head with a dangerous ruck clear out and was subsequently banned for four weeks.

Now Wiese is on the verge of a first Bok call-up.