5 young stars to break through in 2018

Cobus Wiese of Western Province Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

After a difficult year, South African rugby fans need a bit of a lift. They will be happy to know that despite the Springboks and SA Junior Boks' struggles this year, there are still plenty of talented youngsters coming through.

KweséESPN looks at five top youngsters who could make an impact in 2018.

Cobus Wiese (Stormers)

Wiese reminds one of a young Schalk Burger, a big unit who throws himself about the park with scant regard for his own physical well-being. He's one of the fittest players around and his work-rate makes him a perfect candidate to play openside for the Stormers. But he also has a lot of stopping power and is a good ball carrier.

Yaw Penxe (Southern Kings)

The Kings fullback is an elusive runner with a lot of speed to burn. His finishing ability and anticipation have been there for all to see in the PRO14 over the last few months. The experience of playing against northern hemisphere opposition will help to improve his positional play and ability under the high ball.

Damian Willemse (Stormers)

Willemse is a naturally gifted rugby player and has the immense potential to become a top all-round player. The Stormers man has wonderful feet and acceleration, while he also possesses a wonderful pass. The South African Under-20 playmaker also has a big boot, but needs to improve his goalkicking if he wants to be a top Super Rugby flyhalf.

Embrose Papier (Bulls)

South Africa's scrumhalf depth is at an all-time low, and the Springboks need talented youngsters such as Papier to take that next step in their careers. Papier is an exciting No 9 who is a threat next to the rucks. But he also has great service, which is something the current Bok scrumhalves seem to be struggling with.

Sibusiso Nkosi (Sharks)

The Sharks flyer was knocking on the Springbok door in the latter part of the Rugby Championship. Nkosi is arguably a much more rounded player than the current incumbents, as he is awesome on attack and very strong on defence. Nkosi is a powerful player, and it's only a matter of time before he wears the green and gold.