Stormers and Western Province coach John Dobson says that man-mountain JD Schickerling will push for a place in the Springbok second-row in 2021.
Dobson says that Schickerling is aware that he didn’t live up to expectations in 2019 but has refocused himself and is putting in a shift for the franchise and the union this season.
Schickerling to make Springbok case
The coach believes his charge will once again earn a Springbok call-up and make his Green and Gold debut in 2021.
“JD, by his own admission, would agree that at the start of Super Rugby this year he stalled a bit,” Dobson said.
“We have spoken about that. He was battling with a few injuries but it had nothing to do with his neck.
“The South African lock depth is incredible, but JD in his heart of hearts would agree that he didn’t really kick the door down in 2019. He had the injuries. At the start of this year, I don’t think he was at his best. During the Currie Cup last year, he also wasn’t at his best. He has had problems with his shoulder and that’s obviously devastating from a lineout, scrum and pretty much every point of view. He wouldn’t put the blame anywhere else.
“I think he is back to where he was when he was selected for the 2018 Springbok tour, which is really exciting.”
The best of the local locks
Dobson believes that Schickerling could be among the best locks based in South Africa which could give him the inside track for selection to face the Lions.
“There are a couple of factors, one of which is local locks. We don’t know what the international season is going to look like,” said Dobson
“Also, you want as many Springboks playing in South Africa as possible and JD could be one of those.
“We spoke earlier this year, before lockdown, and the word we used was that he had stalled. This is his critical year to pick up his trajectory again, to become a top-class, international No 5 lock, which I have absolutely no doubt he is going to be. This year is critical for all sorts of reasons.
“It is a massive opportunity for him. What’s great is that he seems to be taking it.”
Schickerling represented South African Schools and the national Under-20 side and has also turned out for South Africa A, but he is yet to make his Springbok debut despite a call-up in 2018.