Bok 'door still open' for De Klerk, Carr

Faf de Klerk (Gallo)
Faf de Klerk (Gallo)

Cape Town - One of the glaring omissions from the Springbok training camp currently in Stellenbosch was Faf de Klerk. 

The Lions scrumhalf, who played in 11 of the 12 Tests in 2016, has seemingly fallen out of favour. 

He is fit and has been solid for the Lions in Super Rugby so far this season, but Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee seems to be looking elsewhere for the June internationals against France. 

Cobus Reinach, Shaun Venter and Jano Vermaak were the scrumhalves named in the training squad for Stellenbosch while Rudy Paige is overseas with the Bulls. 

Coetzee was asked about the absences of De Klerk and Nizaam Carr at a press briefing on Monday, and while he did say that the door was still open for all players ahead of the France Tests, there was one line in particular that suggested that Coetzee had already made his mind up with certain selections. 

"Form is important, but also, who will be able to contain those big wingers of the French? I cannot waste our time or the player's time if he might not be in the frame or is not going to be part of the strategy," Coetzee said.

Whether Coetzee was talking about De Klerk, Carr or nobody in particular was not clear, but if De Klerk was at all in Coetzee's plans then he would surely have been a part of this training squad.

Coetzee has emphasised the importance of these training camps in getting the Bok philosophy embedded into his players. Time with them, he says, is crucial.

But Coetzee insists that nothing has been decided. 

"The training camps should not be seen as a selected squad already. It's definitely not the 31-man squad that we will go with against the French," he said.

"It's having a look at players that you haven't had the opportunity of working with ... a guy like Cobus Reinach. I need to see what it is that he brings and what makes him a Springbok."

Coetzee also made mention of SP Marais and Courtnall Skosan, who were not in the current training group.

"There will be opportunity for a third camp where I can have these other guys also invited," he said.

"It's important to make sure that we cast the net a bit wider and that we don't miss anyone."

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