The DHL Stormers pulled off a dramatic win against Ulster yesterday, but there was more at play than just the score line. Ulster named Duane 'Thor' Vermeulen to start at 8 against his former team. With Evan Roos looking for a Springbok call up this year and in stunning form at present, the scene was set for a show down between Bok incumbent and Bok hopeful. What a show down it was.
Ulster looked to have scored right at the death of the game, one which would have likely seen them walk away with victory. The attempt was reviewed numerous times, 1st to decide whether or not there was a knock-on, and then to determine who should get the put in at the scrum. Ultimately the try was not given and the Stormers were let off the hook. It was an incredible game though, with the Stormers scoring two quick tries to open the scoreboard. The second half saw a strong resurgence from the Irish side with a mere 3 points separating them at the siren, 23 - 20 was the final score.
Now to the main point of this piece, Evan Roos. There is no doubt that this youngster is on an upward trajectory, he has been at the forefront of the Stormers team this year boasting incredible stats. He currently lies in 3rd for most defenders beaten (34) and third for carries (40). Doing a little math here, 85% of the time he carries the ball up, he beats the man in front of him. He boast great athleticism and combines it with his powerful defensive and ball carrying abilities.
Evan Roos was given a great opportunity at the weekend to show Jacques Nienaber what he is capable of, and he got the chance to do it against the current Springbok hardman himself. Now, no one really gets the better of 'Thor' on a rugby field, but Roos surely came closer than any one ever has. Roos put in some solid hits on his opposite number, whilst similarly terrorising the rest of their forward pack too. Duane will surely have taken notice as well as the Bok management team.
Roos went on to win Man of the Match, an even bigger statement of intent from the youngster. He is undoubtedly mounting a great assault on his mission for an international call up and I would be incredibly surprised if he wasn't included for the series against Wales in July. Jasper Wiese was the preferred option to back up Vermeulen, but as I have said before, he just doesn't seem the right fit for the Boks and is very penalty prone. Roos deserves a call up and I am certain, given the opportunity, he would only bolster an already formidable Springbok pack.