Kockott to decide — Springboks or France?

2014-01-10 00:00

FORMER Sharks scrumhalf Rory Kockott may soon face a difficult crossroad — playing for France or South Africa.

After his splendid performances for Castres, Kockott (27) was crowned France’s Top14 league player of the year at the end of October.

He scored 376 points during Castr­es’ march to the Top14 title and will qualify to play for France exactly at the time when the southern hemisphere teams leave for their European rugby tours.

After they experienced a scrumhalf crisis due to injuries, Castres signed a short-term contract with Kockott in July 2011. The French club extended the contract and since then, Kockott has made a name for himself.

His performance was such that the Springbok selectors, especially in light of the lack of depth in this department, may show interest in the scrumhalf.

“It has been a great adventure and good learning curve to have played here,” Kockott said this week.

“I will strongly consider it should I be fortunate enough to be in the running to play for France.”

Kockott does not believe he may be considered for the Springboks.

“Certain coaches show interest in certain players. It does not look as if Heyneke Meyer, the Bok coach, needs me. He has gone for Fourie du Preez and also has a high regard for Ruan Pienaar. He has also selected other scrumhalves and sees potential in Louis Schreuder.”

Du Preez appears to be a certain choice when he is exempted from his obligations in Japan, but this is not always the case. That makes the position of deputy scrumhalf of critical importance. Despite all his experience, Pienaar has not been convincing during the Meyer era and this could force the coach to experiment with Jano Vermaak this year. The latter plays for Toulouse in France.

Kockott is a scrumhalf in the French tradition, especially as the man in that position is often entrusted with the goal-kicking duties. During past years, this has often been the case with Dimitri Yachvili and Morgan Parra.

Kockott has probably also had enough of playing a minor role within the South African context. He had to stand back for Vermaak at the Lions during the 2006 Currie Cup series, as well as for the 2011 Super Series.

Meanwile, despite shining for the Sharks, Kockott at times also stood third in line after Pienaar and Charl McLeod. But now the French clubs are queuing to sign a contract with Kockott, with Toulon trying to lure him away from Castres.

The possibility of having to choose between France and SA is not something Kockott thinks about.

“I don’t look at it in that way. All I am doing is to try and play as well as I can. The one thing I have seen here is that there is a place in the team for someone who gives his everything.”

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