Boks snub Lions players for training camp

The Springboks have officially kicked off their preparations for the incoming Welsh series next month with their first training camp set to take place in Pretoria from the start of this week.

Bok coach Jacques Nienaber invited 17 players to the camp, most of them from Sharks and Japan-based players.

With the Stormers and Bulls taking part in the United Rugby Championship semi-finals and the Boks based abroad in England and France still involved in their knockout competitions, they were not considered for the camp.

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Thus, 10 Sharks players and seven Japan-based players are taking part in the camp, although being part of the camp does not guarantee they will be selected for the Bok squad for the series against Wales.

It is therefore very surprising that no Lions player was deemed good enough to participate in the camp.

Uncapped players

Some uncapped players such as Sharks second-choice scrum-half Grant Williams and prop Ntuthuko Mchunu have been invited.

Fly-half Elton Jantjies, who faces possible criminal charges after he was arrested at OR Tambo after allegedly damaging property on an Emirates flight, has also been included.

Scrum-half Cobus Reinach and fly-half Johan Goosen, who are both injured, will also be in camp to rehabilitate in preparation for selection later in the year.

With these players having been selected, one wonders why Bok management sees no value in Lions players.

Flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse is undoubtedly a future Springbok and would have gained a lot from a camp of this nature.

Prop Carlu Sadie and scrum-half Morne van den Bergh had fantastic seasons for the Lions and would have been worthy inclusions, while winger Edwill van der Merwe would also add value.

The Vincent Tshituka flank could also be seen as a missed opportunity as although the DRC-born player is not eligible for the Bok squad, he is in the process of settling his South African citizenship and could also have been invited to the camp .

Tshituka has arguably been one of the best players for URC this season and it would be a travesty if he wasn’t on the national team’s radar as a potential future Bok.

Charles P. Patton