The Bok No 8 debate

0608_sar_ofc.jpgWho should play eighthman for South Africa this season, Ryan Kankowski or Pierre Spies?

Phenomenal and freaky would be good words to describe these two players. Kankowski, who made his Test debut against Wales last November, was probably the top South African player in the first part of 2008 and looked to be a shoo-in to start at the back of the scrum for the Boks this year. That is until Spies, who missed the World Cup after blood clots were discovered on his lungs, made a comeback to the game that exceeded all expectations.

SA Rugby magazine asks two former Bok eighthmen, Wynand Claassen and Gary Teichmann, who they would play this season.

Also in the new issue of SA Rugby magazine, on sale Wednesday:

– In the wake of a brilliant World Cup, Juan Smith remains the Springboks’ most hardened warrior at the frontline. But is it time for him to leave Bloemfontein?

– Peter de Villiers’s attacking ambition suggests that positions 10, 12 and 13 will shoulder greater responsibility in 2008. Former Springbok inside backs Joel Stransky and Hennie le Roux examine the prospective 10-12-13 axis and why it is so crucial to an expansive approach.

– Mismatched teams, poor attendance figures, declining public interest … why Super Rugby is in desperate need of an overhaul

Marius Joubert talks about losing his place to Jaque Fourie, gaining the respect of his Clermont team-mates, how much certain sections of the South African media irritate him, the guilt of carrying a Springbok contract and not playing, being knifed in the back by Western Province and text messages to Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.

Nick Mallett on coaching against the Boks in June, the Six Nations, and why the ELVs could destroy rugby as we know it.

– While Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards never gets emotional in front of his players, he is a caring, loyal and deeply spiritual person.

– Wales Grand-Slam-winning captain Ryan Jones has his sights set on the Springboks.

– Former Test centre Jeremy Guscott on Martin Johnson‘s appointment as England manager.

– After the overwhelming success of the Varsity Cup, questions are being asked about the future of the Vodacom Cup and the National Club Championship. We put Saru president Regan Hoskins on the spot, and also speak to Maties and Ikeys coaches about this year’s Varsity Cup.

Brian Mujati dreams of green and gold.