Five surprise omissions from the Springboks squad
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CAPE TOWN – There are always going to be a few unlucky guys, after all, you can’t pick them all.
There were no major surprises during the Springbok squad announcement for the two Tests against Georgia and the British & Irish Lions Series as Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus picked all the active members from the 2019 World Cup-winning squad, except for the injured Warrick Gelant.
The group also features a good sprinkling of talent, and while it is great to see the guys who have been in hot form during the domestic season and those playing for overseas clubs rewarded, you can’t help but feel for those who missed out.
Here are five big omissions.
1 Marcel Coetzee
Irish folklore gained another legend in Marcell Coetzee.
The loose forward played a massive role in the Irish club’s road to the PRO14 final, and even though he has only played 57 games in his five-year tenure at the club due to injuries, he’s made those appearances count.
The 2020-2021 PRO14 joint top try-scorer and Players’ Player of the season didn’t play with any less influence in his first game for the Bulls on Friday night.
With Duane Vermeulen in serious doubt due to injury, Coetzee could make the cut, as Erasmus explained that the 30-year-old ball-hawk is being tracked.
2 Cornal Hendricks
He was at the centre of the Bulls’ resurgence under Jake White as the side claimed the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles, while also moving to the top of the Rainbow Cup SA table.
Never mind the inspiring nature of his comeback story – on form alone, there is no doubt that Hendricks deserved to make the 46-man cut.
Erasmus, however, explained that they are “trying to clear up some medical issues around him and the moment that’s cleared up we want him [in the squad].”
3 Dillyn Leyds
A paragraph or two is simply not enough to try and put into words how good Leyds has been for Top 14 side La Rochelle.
He has flourished in France, and his characteristic game-breaking ability and attacking wizardry has continued to be key features for Leyds, who has been one of the standout performers.
The Boks certainly are blessed with outside-back resources, but Leyds can consider himself unlucky for missing out.
4 Elrigh Louw
He’s been a revelation.
Louw, 21, is a glutton for collisions and has an engine that just keeps going. In less than a year, he has solidified his position as a starter in a Bulls back row that includes four Springboks.
If that doesn’t say enough about his abilities, I don’t know what can.
Bok in the making.
5 JD Schickerling
One has to almost feel sorry for Schickerling...he’s a talented athlete in a position the Boks are sickeningly wealthy in.
While he’s clearly destined for higher honours, the Stormers lock hasn’t got a crack at the Test arena yet. It should only be a matter of time, though.