Duane Vermeulen v Sikhumbuzo Notshe
Earlier this week, Notshe spoke about how Vermeulen had mentored him when he was a youngster at the Stormers, and how much he had learned from the big fellow even though they play differently.
Since those days in Cape Town, both have moved significantly on – Vermeulen has been around the world and returned to South African rugby at the Bulls, and is one of the most respected players on the planet, while Notshe moved to Durban to reinvent himself after his career stalled at the Stormers.
Notshe, now 27, hit the ground running at the Sharks, lighting up Super Rugby earlier this year with lively ball carrying.
Vermeulen, now in the twilight of his career at 34 and obviously hanging in for the British and Irish Lions, is the “Meneer” of South African rugby. He is not as quick as he used to be but is savagely physical.
Hacjivah Dayimani v Juarno Augustus
These two aren’t exactly like-for-like.
Dayimani, who would be just as comfortable among the backs as he is in the loose trio, has skills and pace for days, but don’t get it twisted – he’s not just flashy. Lineouts, tackles, any physical requirement, really, the 23-year-old can contribute there as well.
But it’s no doubt his agility and skill that set him apart and make him such a hot prospect.
Then there’s Augustus, or Trokkie – the Stormers’ ‘Billy Vunipola, but with better GPS stats’, as John Dobson once put it.
He’s quite a unit himself and a huge ball-carrier and a big hitter. He can do his thing on the ground as well, and the Lions will want to remember that they’ll have their work cut out for them in trying bring him down.