Democratic Republic of Congo born brothers Vincent and Emmanuel Tshituka seem to be on the Springbok radar, after Bok coach Jacques Nienaber revealed in a press conference on Tuesday that he was aware the two are trying to get South African citizenship.
Vincent enjoyed a breakout season in the United Rugby Championship (URC) and was arguably the Lions’ standout player over the campaign, which saw the Sharks come in and snap him up with him heading over to the Durban franchise next season.
His younger brother Emmanuel then forced his way into the main Lions squad during their URC campaign and made his own waves, with selectors taking notice.
Having being asked whether Madosh Tambwe, who has enjoyed a brilliant campaign with the Bulls, was in the running for a Bok call-up, Nienaber explained he wasn’t available, while adding the Tshituka’s to the conversation.
“Madosh is not a South African citizen, so until he gets citizenship he is not eligible,” explained Nienaber.
“It’s the same with the two Tshituka brothers. There is a lot of speculation around Madosh and the two Tshituka brothers and the reason why they cannot get selected is because they are not South African citizens.
“They need to get citizenship (if they want to play for the Boks). I know the Tshituka brothers are busy with the process but I am not sure if Madosh is so you must find out from them.”
On Wednesday it emerged that Tambwe has some South African status, but it is not official citizenship.
“I don’t know about the SA citizenship. All I know is that last week, I was in Ireland with the Bulls team and my passport had the South African coat of arms on it so I don’t know what more to say to that,” Sport24 quoted Tambwe.
According to Sport 24, Tambwe’s puzzlement seems to have arisen from his official refugee status. The publication says that according to South African law, previous foreign nationals who’ve been granted Formal Refugee Recognition – otherwise known as a section 24 permit – are entitled to an identity document and, in Tambwe’s case, a South African refugee travel document.
The selection of Bulls utility back Cornal Hendricks also came up for discussion with Nienaber, with him having been unavailable for selection to previous Bok squads due to the Bok medical team deeming him a risk, due to his pre-existing heart condition, which Nienaber confirmed was still the case.
“The thing around Cornal is that our medical team hasn’t given the green light that he is cleared to play for us and we have to go along with what our medical team is saying,” said Nienaber.
“We have to follow the guidance given to us by our specialists. The Bulls have people that advise them and they have cleared Cornal to play, but we have to wait for the same from our side.
“So the moment we get clearance from the people that advise us on Cornal, then we can look at selecting him. I hope it gets sorted out because he is playing some good rugby and he’s definitely someone that we have our eye on and are tracking.”