John Mitchell says Rudy Paige wasn’t included in the Bulls’ 38-man Super Rugby squad because it was time to move forward with their young scrumhalves.
Paige, who has 13 Test caps, is recovering from a groin injury but will be fit by the end of February.
However, the 28-year-old was not named in the Bulls’ Super Rugby squad, with Mitchell opting for Ivan van Zyl (22), André Warner (24) and Embrose Papier (20) as his three scrumhalves.
‘When it comes to selecting a Super Rugby side it takes time. This has taken a lot longer than I would like normally,’ Mitchell explained. ‘It was very important for me not to be hasty and to make sure that I had enough information on players’ standards.
‘He [Paige] has been fantastic for the club. He’s made it his life in recent years and has given a lot, but I just thought it was time to move forward with the young No 9s. I like a very fast No 9 and certainly all the No 9s that we’ve selected have that ability.
‘Embrose is an up and coming, potentially world-class scrumhalf,’ added Mitchell. ‘He’s demonstrated that and I just think it’s time for him to start his Super Rugby career.’
Mitchell said Paige would stay with the Bulls and could be called up to the squad as an injury replacement during the Super Rugby season.
‘He’s recovering from injury and has just recently got married as well. He’s got a lot going on in his life. Should we get injuries then we’re very fortunate to have somebody of his experience.
‘He’s a very infectious, enthusiastic guy as well. It was difficult sitting him down and telling him the news but he’s taken it as well as anyone could.’
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