Jake White says Cornal Hendricks and Johan Goosen will “get a crack” at reigniting their international careers playing together for SA A on the Springboks’ end-of-year tour.
Vodacom Bulls utility backs Goosen and Hendricks are two of nine capped Boks included for two midweek matches against Munster and the Bristol Bears during South Africa’s pending November tour to Europe.
“I’m hoping that the two of them will help each other play well as well for the national set-up,” Bulls director of rugby White said in response to the announcement of a 54-man squad for the Springbok and SA A matches in November.
“I told Goosen [on Friday] that he is not in the starting [Bok Test squad] lineup for the national team, but that he was going to have Cornal there, and he was obviously excited.”
Goosen’s return to international rugby has been widely questioned, as he has yet to kick into gear after being sidelined for almost a year. But, previous Bok omissions for Hendricks, who last played Test rugby in 2015 before he was forced into semi-retirement due to a heart condition, was a big talking point.
On Hendricks’ recall, White said: “I’m chuffed for him. There is an example of a guy who’s had to stick it out … and credit to SA Rugby too, let’s be fair. They needed to get the paperwork done, got the paperwork done.
“Part of their fear was that they couldn’t risk it unless there was an amicable agreement, and there is now. And now, credit to SA Rugby, they’ve now picked him.
“He probably feels relieved that he’s done his bit, and they’ve negotiated whatever they needed to negotiate; I don’t know the details, but at least there’s a win for both of them.
“What’s quite nice is literally the next tour, he gets a crack. It’s great for him, and he goes with a guy like [Johan] Goosen as well. I’m sure two senior guys like them will be good for both of them.”
Hendricks has starred for the Bulls at centre and wing, and SA A coach Mzwandile Stick is excited to work with the fellow former sevens star.
“Every time we discuss the squad, his name is always mentioned. If you look at the past year or two, he has been playing well for the Bulls, and it was also nice for us as coaches to get the green light to select him for SA A. With his experience, we know what he can do, and covering 12, 13 and outside backs,” Stick said.
“There are a lot of youngsters in the SA A squad that are exciting, but you need some stability around that — people who have been there. If the conditions don’t allow us to play running rugby, we need people to keep things together and direct the team, and we know Cornal has done that for the Bulls.”