- Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee remained levelheaded about his latest omission from the Springbok squad.
- Coetzee played the second Test defeat against Wales before being sent back to his home province ahead of the Rugby Championship.
- The loose striker praised teammate Johan Grobbelaar, who also missed out on Bok’s selection, for an outstanding URC season.
Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee has remained pondered over his latest omission from the Springbok squad after failing to crack the mix for the Rugby Championship.
Coetzee played out the second Test defeat against Wales in Bloemfontein before being thrown adrift for the next Tests against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
Aphelele Fassi was also released, as Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber, who has not closed the door on them indefinitely, believed that both exclusions were performance-related.
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“They’re clearly supporting the guys they have right now,” Coetzee said Wednesday night after accepting the Bulls’ player of the season award.
“I know where I stand with them, so if anything comes up, I’m more than happy to oblige.
“But I want to wish them all the best for the Test against the All Blacks this weekend. We will support them hard.”
The Boks face the All Blacks in Mbombela on Saturday (5:05 p.m.).
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Willie le Roux
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock , 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 George Bower
Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Quinn Tupaea
Coetzee was recognized by his province on Wednesday night for a standout United Rugby Championship (URC) season in which he led the Bulls to the final, where they lost to Cape Town Stormers.
Hooker Johan Grobbelaar, another high-profile teammate last season who many believed would also break into Bok’s reckoning this year, won big on the franchise’s awards night.
Grobbelaar was part of the Springbok squad at the end of last year but failed to make his international debut.
He scored nine URC tries in the tournament, bettered only by skipper Coetzee and Stormers speedster Leolin Zas, who both finished on 11 touchdowns, and Benetton’s Rhyno Smith (10).
“I think we forget how young he still is,” Coetzee said of the 24-year-old.
“He’s already conquered the world. He’s very unfortunate not to be part of the Springbok mix.
“He had a phenomenal season and could have easily won that main prize as well.
“We love him as a player and a team man, he always puts the badge in front of him and the players respect him a lot.
“The sky’s the limit for him. He just needs to keep working hard, keep his head down and the honors will come.”