Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
9 Jun 2022
9:12 am

Bok hopefuls must continue to perform in URC, says Nienaber

Ross Roche

The Bok boss was specifically asked what Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee and Stormers fullback Warrick Gelant, had to do to work their way back into the national team setup.

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee scores a try in their URC quarterfinal win over the Sharks. Coetzee's great form this season should see him in with a shout of a Bok call-up. Picture: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Springbok coach Jacques did not want to show any of his cards during the Bok press conference at their first official training camp of the season, but had a message for SA players still involved in the various club tournaments around the world.

With the official Springbok squad for the Welsh incoming series next month only set to be named at the culmination of the United Rugby Championship (URC) competition, Nienaber was quizzed on a few players who had not been a part of the alignment camps earlier in the year.

Nienaber was specifically asked what Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee and Stormers fullback Warrick Gelant, who have enjoyed fantastic seasons in the URC, had to do to work their way back into the national teams setup.

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“We are not going to speculate on the squad. That’s why we haven’t named the squad. They are currently playing with their franchises and to speculate now on players, on who’s in and who’s out, that’s why we delayed the announcement of the squad,” explained Nienaber.

“That’s so they can focus solely on preparing for Leinster and Ulster this weekend. They must perform. I am not going to speculate on players not in the squad (now).  

“As soon as the Sharks fell out we pulled the Sharks players in and I think it will be the same going forward with other teams when they fall out.”

Jantjies backing

Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who was a slightly surprising inclusion in the Boks first training camp taking place in Pretoria this week as he is currently facing criminal proceedings, also received backing from Nienaber.

The allegations relate to an alleged incident on an Emirates flight where he allegedly damaged property and was subsequently arrested on landing at OR Tambo airport.

Nienaber explained during a Bok press conference on Wednesday that the management is keeping abreast of the situation and will act accordingly as more information comes out.

“On Elton, when the alleged allegations happened he wasn’t in the Springbok camp at that stage and we will treat it (the case) accordingly as more information about the alleged incident comes to light,” said Nienaber.

“We see it as he hasn’t been found guilty of anything under my knowledge and we are treating it like that. You must be proven guilty of something (before we can act).

“So other than that we are working with him on the rugby stuff here in the camp.”

Jantjies case was recently postponed in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s court, pending final representations from his defence council, and these would be submitted before his next appearance next week Friday.