Seven Springbok players‚ including flyhalf Handre Pollard and centre Damian de Allende‚ have been released from the squad and will play in the Currie Cup this weekend.
Pollard and De Allende both made it on to the field during last week’s chastening 57-0 loss against the All Blacks in Albany‚ and could benefit from some playing time.
Pollard‚ 23‚ was rushed back into the Bok squad for the recent Australasian tour even though he hadn’t played a match since March due to ongoing ankle injury problems.
Questions were asked at the time Pollard was recalled to the Bok squad whether he might have benefitted from some game time before being thrust into the international arena for his first Test appearance in almost two years.
Bok coach Allister Coetzee dismissed those concerns a fortnight ago‚ yet two weeks on and Pollard is now required to play Currie Cup.
It’s the kind of decision that does little to alleviate a nagging concern that the Springbok planning is not as spot on as it should be‚ and that much of it is knee-jerk.
Pollard was always going to be rusty.
He was an unused substitute against Australia in Perth and was chucked into the All Blacks match with the score at 43-0 to the home team deep into the second half.
What was gained by including him in the squad in the first place remains clear only to the coach and his inner sanctum.
Dillyn Leyds (utility back)‚ Wilco Louw (prop‚ both Western Province)‚ Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker)‚ Dan du Preez (looseforward‚ both Sharks) and Rudy Paige (scrumhalf‚ Blue Bulls) are the other players set for Currie Cup action for their respective provinces this weekend.
De Allende has been a member of the national squad this year but he too has seen limited action behind the Springboks’ preferred centre pairing of Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel.
Meanwhile‚ the Springboks arrived home on Sunday evening from their two away matches in Australia and New Zealand.
The squad will reassemble on Sunday in Bloemfontein for their next home match‚ against the Wallabies‚ on Saturday‚ 30 September.
The Boks will complete their 2017 Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign on Saturday‚ 7 October with a rematch against the All Blacks at Newlands in Cape Town. — TimesLIVE