Handre Pollard will demand a lot of attention on Friday night at Twickenham when Montpellier play in the final of the European Challenge Cup. The following day will belong to the South African wingers Cheslin Kolbe and and Dillyn Leyds playing for Toulouse and La Rochelle respectively in the European club rugby’s biggest day of the season.
South Africa’s 2019 World Cup winners Pollard, Cobus Reinach and 2007 World Cup winner Bismarck du Plessis will be among five South Africans on the Montpellier bench, which includes loose-forward Jacques du Plessis, who has signed with Jake White’s Bulls, and young prop Robert Rodgers
The quartet’s influence will determine whether or not Montpellier beat Leicester. Montpellier’s only other European title was when White coached them.
The Springboks midfield duo of Jan Serfontein and Johan Goosen start for Montpellier and South African-born French international Paul Willemse is in the second row.
Goosen, who has also signed for White’s Bulls, will want to remind Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber of his qualities, more so because of his return to South Africa.
Serfontein, one of South Africa’s most talented junior players, will also want to produce a performance that is a throwback to those days that saw him named the best under 20 player in the world.
England’s Leicester Tigers have had little success domestically in the Premiership, but individually one of their success stories is South African loose-forward Jasper Wiese. He is expected to be named in Nienaber’s first Bok squad, to be named in early June.
The Challenge Cup precedes the Champions Cup, with the all-French showdown also pitting former Stormers teammates Cheslin Kolbe against Dillyn Leyds. Both have been superb for Toulouse and La Rochelle respectively.
Other Springboks who will feature in Saturday’s main event are loose-forwards Rynardt Elstadt and wing/turned/centre Raymond Rhule. The latter has transformed his all-round game since playing in the No 13 jersey.
Friday’s Montpellier v Leicester is live on SuperSport at (SA time) 21.00
Saturday’s Toulouse v La Rochelle is live on SuperSport at (SA time) 17.45
Also on www.keo.co.za
The 21 South Africans who could feature in this weekend’s European double header at Twickenham