Despite his obvious form, Marcell Coetzee will be ignored for Springbok selection and it’s a topic for discussion, according to Mark Keohane.
In his blog, Keohane writes that Coetzee’s colossal performance in the Vodacom Bulls’ quarter-final win over the Sharks in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship will seemingly do little to change the Bok coaches’ minds about selecting him.
He added that Siya Kolisi, unlike Coetzee, was noticeably absent in his influence for the Sharks on the clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, but the World Cup-winning Bok skipper will still be one of the first names picked for the July series against Wales.
Keohane suggested that Coetzee knows he won’t be picked and Kolisi knows he will never be dropped, but the former’s continued absence highlights the coaches’ questionable disdain for him regardless of his performances for the Bulls.
“It doesn’t mean there can’t be a discussion about Kolisi’s limited impact in his first season at the Sharks and Coetzee’s monumental contribution to the Bulls since he returned to South Africa from Belfast, Ireland,” Keohane writes.
“Kolisi was my South African player of the season in 2021. He was colossal for the Springboks and he is a player who saves his best performances for the national team, so this is not a point made about whether it should be Kolisi or Coetzee in the Springbok squad.
“This is a statement about pre-determined merits, where no matter what the one player does not do, there is no consequence and no matter what the other player does, there is no reward.
“I understand Coetzee has accepted that while the incumbent Springboks coaching duo of Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber are in charge, he will not play for the national team. It is also accepted that Kolisi’s position, as a starter and captain, would never be a discussion.
“The Bok coaches will always justify an omission with a question of ‘who do I leave out?’ But in this case, it should not warrant a question but an acknowledgement. You don’t have to leave out anyone but you can add someone.”