Springbok squad news: Why Marcell Coetzee didn’t crack the nod

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While Bulls loose forward Marcell Coetzee was not named in the Springbok squad to face the British & Irish Lions, the national team’s brains trust say he could still become a factor down the line.

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Marcell Coetzee was seen by many as a likely selection in the squad – particularly after the recent injury to Duane Vermeulen – but new Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, felt that Coetzee hadn’t had enough game time in recent months – although they stressed he could still become an option down the line, given that he is now based in South Africa.

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“Marcell last played against Leinster on 6 March when he got injured, and Friday was his first game back in week 13 after injury,” Nienaber said.

“But the home-ground advantage we have now with him being back in South Africa is that he could play in the final round of the Rainbow Cup and possibly the final. And perhaps also in the Bulls game against the British & Irish Lions. We could pick up injury down the line, hopefully not, but if so then he would be someone we would look at.”

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Erasmus added: “The most important thing for us to understand is that the provincial teams that play against the British & Irish Lions will have to go into a bubble for 10 days prior to their games. So if we send a player to one of those teams, he is 10 days away from us, so that will be a disruption.

“On the other hand, for us to draft a player in, it is actually only one day. So if we get an injury, a player can travel the next day if he has a negative Covid-19 test result and he can join us the following day.

“That’s why we are keeping the squad as 46 players until the first British & Irish Lions Test. Some of the guys, like Marcell Coetzee, might be very disappointed. But there is strategic thinking in getting them more game time, because some of them are coming back from long term injuries.”

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The loose forwards in the squad as of right now are Dan du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese, while Jean-Luc du Preez and Rynhardt Elstadt have been listed as “utility forwards”.

“Speaking about some of those guys, the two Du Preez brothers have been unlucky in the past because of the number of quality loose forwards we have, but it’s great to have them back, and obviously one can play lock. Rynhardt is also a utility lock and loose forward, which is valuable considering Lood [de Jager] and RG [Snyman] have had injuries,” Erasmus said, adding that Wiese’s form with Leicester was too good to ignore.

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“Then when it comes to Marco, we know what we have in him, and although he wasn’t in the mix initially, he has just been playing so well. Then someone like Jasper [Wiese] can play at No 8, and with Duane’s injury that could be key. We just couldn’t ignore Jasper’s form, he has been outstanding and just knocked the door down.”

SPRINGBOK 46-MAN SQUAD:

Forwards

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Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Joseph Dweba, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese

Backs

Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Sanele Nohamba, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Wandisile Simelane, Frans Steyn, Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Yaw Penxe, Rosko Specman, Damian Willemse 

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