Jean-Luc du Preez is a strong ball-carrier and lineout option. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Sharks loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez has been belatedly called up to the Springbok squad for the three-Test series against France, SA Rugby announced on Saturday.

Du Preez was a surprise omission from the 31-man Bok group announced by coach Allister Coetzee on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old has been in good form for the Sharks in Super Rugby this year, and was a contender for the No 7 jersey in the upcoming three-Test series against France.

But that scenario changed with the selection of France-based Duane Vermeulen in the Bok squad, as well as the appointment of Warren Whiteley as captain, as it now appears as if Vermeulen will line up at blindside flank against the Tricolores.

Vermeulen is likely to miss the training camp in Plettenberg Bay after his club Toulon reached the French Top 14 final on Friday night, with the decider set to be played next Saturday. 

Du Preez made his Test debut against Wales in Cardiff last November, which made his demotion to the SA ‘A’ squad for their two-game series against the French Barbarians even more surprising.

Du Preez, though, still has a tough task ahead to convince Coetzee that he should be part of the match-23, as apart from Vermeulen, there are two other blindside options in Stormers captain Siya Kolisi and Cheetahs No 7 Oupa Mohoje.

Before that, Du Preez will come face-to-face with Kolisi later today when the Sharks take on the Stormers at Kings Park (5.15pm kickoff).

The Boks will come together in Plettenberg Bay on Monday for their week-long training camp before moving up north ahead of the first Test against France at Loftus Versfeld on June 10.



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