SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus has shed some light on the omission of Bulls centre Cornal Hendricks from the 46-man Springbok squad for the British & Irish Lions series.
Head coach Jacques Nienaber named a 46-man Springbok squad for the upcoming two-Test series against Georgia and the matches against the British & Irish Lions.
The entire 2019 Rugby World Cup-winning squad – except for the retired trio of Tendai Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Schalk Brits, and the injured Warrick Gelant – have made it back into the group, while eight uncapped players were included in this extended squad.
But one of the biggest talking points after the announcement were the omission of players who are outperforming many of their peers in their respective positions. One of those omitted is Hendricks, who’s starred for the Bulls under Jake White in the inside-centre position, helping the team claim the Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup titles, as well as top the Rainbow Cup SA log.
Having last played for the Springboks in 2015, before he was forced into semi-retirement due to a heart condition, many pundits believed Hendricks had done enough to earn a recall to the 46-man squad for the British & Irish Lions series. Unfortunately, Hendricks, along with several of his Bulls teammates, including Marcell Coetzee and Lizo Gqoboka, were left out of the Nienaber’s first-ever squad.
Speaking directly after the squad announcement, Erasmus said the door remains open for everyone who didn’t make the initial squad because it is a long season and injuries might occur.
On Hendricks, in particular, Erasmus explained that he should be in this initial 46-man group, but medical issues had cost him for now and that communication between SA Rugby and Hendricks’ camp is ongoing.
‘There’s another issue around Cornal,’ Erasmus explained. ‘We had a good meeting with him about 10 days ago.
‘We’re trying to clear up some medical issues around him and the moment that’s cleared up we want him [in the squad]. He obviously should make the squad of 46, but as I said there’s some medical issues around him which we have to clear up.’
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