White: SA Rugby searching for solution to include Hendricks

Bulls head coach Jake White has stressed that SA Rugby is doing everything within its power to get Cornal Hendricks back into a Springbok jersey.

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When the Springbok squad for the upcoming British & Irish Lions series was announced, one startling omission was that of Bulls centre Hendricks.

Since making the shift to midfield, Hendricks has been a revelation over the past year and has comfortably been the best inside centre playing in South Africa.

The 33-year-old was once again named man of the match this past weekend for his performance in the Bulls’ crunch game against the Sharks. Hendricks helped inspire his side to a tough-fought victory which placed them in the final of the Rainbow Cup.

Rassie Erasmus is on record stating a desire to have Hendricks back in the national set-up, however, medical barriers still remain.

Hendricks missed three years of professional rugby after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition. The condition curtailed his Springbok career and looked to have ended his rugby-playing days as a whole.

Only after sourcing two independent medical opinions did Hendricks manage to convince the Bulls franchise of his safety to play. SA Rugby, however, still wants to make its own assessment.

White has now confirmed that discussions between SA Rugby and Hendricks are ongoing.

‘Let me just say, I know there’s been a lot of speculation and I want to give you my word on this: Jurie Roux, Rassie and Jacques Nienaber are working really hard with the union and the player to find the best way to get him involved in the national set-up.

‘I’m really comfortable with the process. We have a really good relationship with SA Rugby. [Bulls CEO] Edgar Rathbone is working really hard to get Bulls players into the national set-up.

‘If I were selfish, I wouldn’t be pushing for Cornal’s inclusion because then I lose him. But that’s not what we do here. We’re here to produce Springboks, guys that play at the highest level. Rassie and co have said this publicly. Cornal is in their plans, they just have to sort out the details and find a solution.

‘Rassie and co have communicated with him [Hendricks] and want him in the national set-up. That’s pleasing to any player. He’s got confidence that he doesn’t have this whole thing hanging over his head.

‘It’s the same thing with Marcell Coetzee, too. Their time will come. I was a Springbok coach, too. You’re never going to make everyone happy. You’ve got to pick the guys you believe will get the job done.

‘It’s a long season It’s going to be bio-bubbles and permutations and combinations that will have to be tweaked.’

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