De Jongh, Kolbe turn focus to Sevens

Juan de Jongh (Gallo Images)
Juan de Jongh (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Juan de Jongh and Cheslin Kolbe would certainly have come into contention for a place in Allister Coetzee's first Springbok squad had it not been for their commitment to the Blitzboks. 

The Stormers duo played the first four torunaments of the Sevens World Series and are strong contenders to feature in the squad that travels to the Olympic Games in Rio in August. 

That means that they will not only miss the business end of Super Rugby with the Stormers, but also a chance to start a new era with the Springboks over the next month. 

De Jongh has 14 Test caps already, but Kolbe is yet to represent the Boks. 

Coetzee would not say that the Stormers duo would have been in his squad, but he did say that they "would have been taken into consideration". 

It is hard to believe that either player would have been left out, though. 

De Jongh was a favourite of Coetzee's during his time at Newlands while Kolbe has been one of the form players in Super Rugby this season. 

Coetzee said on Saturday that backing the Sevens side ahead of the Olympics was the priority this year.

"It was a decision that was taken by SA Rugby long ago. Preference went to the Blitzboks … it was just fair that we set up Neil Powell to bring back the gold," said Coetzee.

"It’s definitely got to do with the Olympic Games (their omission).

"It’s something that has been decided by the presidents and the CEOs of the different unions. It’s been done and dusted long ago.

"It’s not a thing that just happened now. Cheslin was always a part of this Olympic campaign … same with Juan de Jongh."

Both players are expected to be a part of a Sevens training camp in Stellenbosch that begins on the weekend of June 11 - the same day the Springboks take on Ireland in the first Test in Cape Town.

Should they be a part of the Olympic squad, De Jongh and Kolbe would also miss the start of the Rugby Championship on August 27.

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