PRETORIA – Embrose Papier has his nose pressed against the glass as he watches the Springboks train at his rugby home in Pretoria.
As he watches the national team prepare for the upcoming Rugby Championship and the Rugby World Cup later this year, the what-if thoughts must be swirling in his mind.
“To see the Boks training here at Loftus is motivating me to go out and give it my best,” Papier said yesterday.
A year ago he was one of the flavours of the season only to be relegated to the odd cameo in the 2019 Super Rugby competition.
Bulls coach Pote Human opted to rotate halfbacks Papier, Ivan van Zyl and Andre Warner throughout their campaign.
Papier and Van Zyl each received six starting berths, while Warner started in five of the Bulls’ 17 matches.
One can argue that the rotational policy did none of the three scrumhalves any favours with the trio receiving the odd three consecutive starts.
Papier said he hoped to get more playing time with the Blue Bulls during the Currie Cup which kicks off against Western Province in Cape Town over the weekend.
Time may be running out for Papier to make an impression on Bok coach Rassie Erasmus.
But he believed he could stake a claim provided he had an extended run for the Blue Bulls.
“Every player wants to play, and I am the kind of guy who thrives on confidence, and I also think that is how you play better rugby,” Papier said. “When you have confidence, you will go out with confidence.
If I can get more time during the Currie Cup, I can show what I can do.”
Papier said he respected Human’s mandate to make selections, but felt the rotation policy disrupted some of his rhythm during the season.
“I respect coach Pote’s selections, but there were times that I felt I had a good game and the next one I wouldn’t play,” Papier said. “I would come back then feel a bit rusty, and I didn’t have the confidence from the previous game.
“I respect every coach’s decision, which counts for the Bulls as well. If the coach selects someone ahead of me, I will always give my best in that position.”
Papier faces an uphill battle to get back into the Bok fold with Faf de Klerk, Cobus Reinach and Herschel Jantjies ahead of him in the pecking order. Jantjies has been one of the Bok bolters after he made the best of his playing opportunities with the Stormers this season.
Meanwhile, former Lions lock and new Blue Bulls recruit Andries Ferreira could make his debut for the Pretoria-based team while Lood de Jager is also expected to run out in the opening Currie Cup match.@ockertde