Town – He is still just 21-years-old and is in his first full season of Super
Rugby with the Bulls, but already Embrose
Papier is a Springbok.
His debut came in the 22-20 loss to
Wales in Washington at the start of the month, and now he will be given another
opportunity in the green and gold when the Boks take on England in the third
and final Test at Newlands on Saturday.
Papier will play off the bench
behind the in-form Faf de Klerk.
Bulls coach John Mitchell made a
massive call at the start of the season when he ditched Bok scrumhalf Rudy
Paige from his Super Rugby squad, opting instead for youthfulness and
At the time, Mitchell spoke about
how highly he rated Papier, saying that he saw the youngster turning into a
world class scrumhalf in the future.
While there is still a long way
to go before any of that starts taking shape, Erasmus seems to be on the same
page as Mitchell.
The Bok transformation targets
cannot be ignored – Erasmus has said as much – and if South Africa are to take
a squad that is made up of 50% players of colour to next year’s World Cup in
Japan, then they need to give players opportunities to either succeed or fail
in national colours before that tournament.
There is no doubt that Papier
could benefit from more Super Rugby – he is not considered the No scrumhalf at
the Bulls yet – but the unique South African climate means that he is given a
crack at the highest level immediately.
According to Erasmus, all the
right ingredients are there, with speed standing out as one of Papier’s most
“Embrose is a guy that I’m
very excited about, especially when the game opens up,” Erasmus said.
“He is lightning fast,
probably one of the fastest guys in the team. In that I include Aphiwe
(Dyantyi), S’bu (Nkosi), Jesse (Kriel) and everybody … he’s really lightning
“He can speed up the game.
“Obviously at his age he has
some work-ons in terms of his passing and box kicking, but he tackles really
well and understands the defence system and is a natural attacker.”
Erasmus applauded Mitchell’s
management of Papier so far this season, with the halfback having moved fluidly
between the Super Rugby squad and the SuperSport Challenge team.
“I think the way that Mitch
has been grooming him has helped a lot,” said Erasmus.
“He is going to make some
mistakes tomorrow, but there is a lot of energy, speed and enthusiasm
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Embrose Papier 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Willie le Roux
15 Elliot Daly, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Mike Brown, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Joe Marler
Substitutes: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Sam Simmonds, 22 Ben Spencer, 23 Denny Solomona