Snyman crucial to Cats chances

Andre Pretorius’ court date on March 8 means that Tiaan Snyman will be the Cats’ first choice 10 for at least the first five weeks of the competition.

The player who looked so out of his depth during last season’s Currie Cup will be tasked with guiding his franchise’s chances in the critical opening six weeks of the tournament. Coach Frans Ludeke has often expressed his faith in Snyman to, but it is delivery on the field and not praise by the coach that Cats supporters seek.

And Snyman has yet to provide that since returning to competitive rugby in last year’s Super 12.

The Cats’ first choice backline, injury and non-availability respected, reads as follows: Conrad Jantjes, Ashwin Willemse, Jaque Fourie, Wayne Julies, Grant Esterhuizen, Snyman, Ricky Januarie.

Read through the names and there’s only player yet to play for the Boks. The player on whose shoulders the heaviest burden will fall.

For all Ludeke’s confidence, it’s undeniable that Snyman’s name will be the first to be circled in opposition team meetings as the vulnerability.

Pretorius’ court date on March 8 means that he can only leave the country on March 9. He thus will only be available, fitness dependant, to play the Crusaders on March 17 in Christchurch.

Ludeke has Earl Rose and Andre Hough as other options in his squad should Snyman implode.