Whilst much of the talk about Saturday’s announcement of the first Springbok squad since the 2019 Rugby World Cup has centered on those who made the cut, there are a handful of players who can feel unlucky to have missed out.
Notably the omission of both Cornal Hendricks and Marcell Coetzee was addressed by the coaching staff, with Hendricks missing out due to a pending medical dispute which arose after his retirement in 2017 due to a heart condition. Whilst Coetzee only returned from injury on Saturday, after moving back to South Africa and joining the Bulls from Irish based side, Ulster.
They aren’t the only players to miss out on selection though and whilst some may feel more aggrieved than others they are notably missing from a squad that is far larger than normal due to current circumstances.
In the centers we have players like Jan Serfontein (Montpellier) who already boasts 35 Springbok caps and is a menace on attack. At the age of 28 he is also in his prime and his continued Bok absence is surely due to come to an end.
Other midfielders missing include, Andre Esterhuizen (Harlequins) and Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Sale Sharks) who are both heavily built and well suited to the inside center roll. Whilst there is no arguing that incumbent, Damian De Allende is well established in the position and in great form, it is hard to see these players go unutilized, much like Laumape in New Zealand.
At Flyhalf, Sharks play maker Curwin Bosch was excluded in favor of Morne Steyn who has been the more consistent of the two. Whilst Morne is at the tail end of his career and has earned his spot in the squad, the exclusion of Curwin is to the detriment of the players development overall.
In the front row, Lizo Gqoboka will also be aggrieved at his exclusion. Having earned two test caps in 2019, a strong showing for the Bulls in the Rainbow Nations Cup should have caught the coaches attention, for a player on their radar not so long ago. Joining him to a lesser extent is Akker Van der Merwe (Sale Sharks) who has been a student of the game for a while now and is maturing well in England. One of many South African's at Sale, he would have had his sights set on a flight home with Faf, Jean-Luc, Dan, Lood and Coenie.
It is a long season and injury may strike at any time, so its important that these players continue to push for their domestic sides, should the Springboks come calling. Marcell Coetzee may just get the call if scans on Duane Vermeulen reveal the worst.