Coenie gets the chop

In an example of some of the worst man management in the history of Springbok rugby, prop Coenie Oosthuizen has now felt the blade of the Bok selector’s axe.

Tank Lanning

The Bok squad for the Rugby Champs:

Forwards (17):

Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Frans Malherbe, Victor Matfield, Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Duane Vermeulen

Backline (13):

Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn

JP Pietersen and Schalk Burger were not considered as they have club duties in Japan. Injured players not available for selection: Flip van der Merwe (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee), Arno Botha (knee), Pierre Spies (bicep), Fourie du Preez (ankle) and Jaque Fourie (ankle).

So after years of trying to turn Coenie Oosthuizen into a tighthead prop, and thus having a weak Bok bench while also denying other real tighthead props an opportunity to push Jannie du Plessis for a place in the run on XV, the Free State prop now finds himself cut from a 30 man national squad. This after he was suddenly asked to play loosehead prop, and struggled for obvious reasons, in the final June test against the Scots.

If he took the selectors to the CCMA I reckon he would have a case! I have long been critical of a process that has seen the highest level of rugby available to a player being used as a creche, and now feel desperately sorry for the player. And to rub salt in his wound, Gurthrö Steenkamp, a man who plies his trade overseas, and Trevor Nyakane, a man deemed too fat to play for the Boks a 2 months ago, remain in the squad as backup to Beast Mtawarira, who has not played for 6 weeks due to a bulging disc in his neck!

So the player suffers, but the people who got to play this game, and fail, carry on …

Jean de Villiers has recovered from the knee injury which kept him out of the June Tests and is one of six players returning from injury after missing the entire or a part of the June Tests. The others are Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe (prop), Eben Etzebeth (lock), Patrick Lambie (flyhalf/fullback) and Damian de Allende (centre).

De Allende, who was forced to withdraw from the squad in June because of a knee ligament injury, and scrumhalf Cobus Reinach are the only two uncapped players in the 30-man Springbok squad.

The national selectors have also retained four debutants from that series – Cornal Hendricks (wing), Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (loose forward), Lood de Jager (lock) and Handré Pollard (flyhalf).

“It’s great to have Jean back to lead the side,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“Victor Matfield and Jan Serfontein both did superbly well in his absence, but he is our captain and I’m sure he will slot back into the side without any difficulty. The same goes for Eben, Frans and Patrick, all of whom have been part of the squad before.

“We will medically assess all the players in the squad in Johannesburg next week. This will not only include the players who missed the June Tests because of injury, but also someone such as Mtawarira, who has been out of action for a while. We will deal with every player and his needs individually.”

Commenting on the inclusion of Hendricks, Mohoje, De Jager and Pollard, Meyer said: “These players have impressed from the first minute they joined us. This is a step up for all of them, but that is the kind of challenge we thrive on.”

The Springbok squad will gather in Johannesburg for a pre-competition camp from 4 to 8 August and then again on 10 August in Pretoria, where they will prepare for the Test against Argentina.


The Rugby Championship fixtures:

Round 1 – August 16

12:05: Australia v New Zealand (ANZ Stadium, Sydney)

17:05: Springboks v Argentina (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria)

Round 2 – August 23

09:35: New Zealand v Australia (Eden Park, Auckland)

21:40: Argentina v Springboks (Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, Salta)

Round 3 – September 6

09:35: New Zealand v Argentina (MacLean Park, Napier)

12:10: Australia v Springboks (Patersons Stadium, Perth)

Round 4 – September 13

09:35 New Zealand v Springboks (Westpac Stadium, Wellington)

12:05: Australia v Argentina (Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast)

Round 5 – September 27

17:05: Springboks v Australia (Newlands, Cape Town)

TBC: Argentina v New Zealand (Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata)

Round 6 – October 4

17:05: Springboks v New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

00:40: Argentina v Australia (Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza)


The squad as per province and Test caps:

Willem Alberts (Sharks) Loose forward, 32 Test caps

Bakkies Botha (Toulon) Lock, 79 Test caps

Schalk Brits (Saracens) Hooker, 7 Test caps

Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) Loose forward, 16 Test caps

Damian De Allende (Western Province) Centre / Wing, uncapped

Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs) Lock, 3 Test caps

Jean de Villiers (Western Province) Centre, 96 Test caps – captain

Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks) Hooker, 60 Test caps

Jannie du Plessis (Sharks) Prop, 54 Test caps

Eben Etzebeth (Western Province) Lock, 23 Test caps

Bryan Habana (Toulon) Wing, 97 Test caps

Cornal Hendricks (Cheetahs) Wing, 3 Test caps

Francois Hougaard (Blue Bulls) Scrumhalf, 28 Test caps

Patrick Lambie (Sharks) Flyhalf / Fullback, 32 Test caps

Willie le Roux (Cheetahs) Fullback / Wing, 15 Test caps

Francois Louw (Bath) Loose forward, 30 Test caps

Frans Malherbe (Western Province) Prop, 2 Test caps

Victor Matfield (Blue Bulls) Lock, 113 Test caps

Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje (Cheetahs) Loose forward, 1 Test cap

Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks) Prop, 55 Test caps

Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks) Wing, 9 Test caps

Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs) Prop, 4 Test caps

Ruan Pienaar (Ulster) Scrumhalf, 76 Test caps

Handré Pollard (Blue Bulls) Flyhalf, 1 Test cap

Cobus Reinach (Sharks) Scrumhalf, uncapped

Jan Serfontein (Blue Bulls) Centre, 12 Test caps

Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse) Prop, 51 Test caps

Morné Steyn (Stade Francais) Flyhalf, 56 Test caps

Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs) Hooker, 34 Test caps

Duane Vermeulen (Western Province) No 8, 19 Test caps

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