With Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus’ 46-man Springbok squad for the Georgia and British & Irish Lions Tests named, we identify three players who were unlucky not to be included.
Cornal Hendricks (Bulls)
Love him or hate him, Jake White’s rugby IQ is about as close to supernatural as they come. His decision to move Cornal Hendricks from the wing into the Bulls midfield last year has been a rugby revelation, with the former Stormer consistently producing masterclasses in helping the Pretoria Boys establish dominance over their local rivals. The Currie Cup Player of the Year is another who could have done no more to earn his spot.
However, Erasmus has revealed that Hendricks’ exclusion is in fact due to non-rugby-related reasons and that he is currently in a legal dispute with SA Rugby concerning the heart condition that resulted in his three-year absence from the sport. Here’s to hoping he resolves the issue soon and deservedly adds to his 12 Test caps later this year.
Marcel Coetzee (Bulls)
Along with Hendricks, Coetzee’s exclusion was particularly difficult to stomach for many South African rugby fans. The former Shark’s career has been beset by injury, but his name was widely expected to be called out during Saturday’s announcement. When queried on the omission, Erasmus reasoned that the loose forward had not played enough rugby over the course of the last few months to be picked, but this is inconsistent when considering some of the other selections in the Bok squad.
Still, Rassie is an honest guy and has maintained that there will still be opportunities for Coetzee to force his way into the Bok squad this year. After ending his debut match for the Bulls against the Stormers on Friday as captain and Man of the Match, who would bet against him?
Curwin Bosch (Sharks)
Morne Stéyn’s recall to the national side means there’s no room for Bosch, the man who has been integral to the Sharks this season. It’s a pity for the former Grey High pupil because he has plenty to offer, but unfortunately he will have to continue to bide his time as the Bok coaches have opted for the tried and tested in this scenario.
Despite having played over 50 times in Super Rugby and debuting for the Sharks way back in 2016, Bosch is yet to properly challenge for a consistent spot in the Bok squad. The freakishly talent pivot has played in the Green and Gold twice before.