Rugby World Cup 2011
Hawies slams Sarel's omission
Sarel Pretorius (File)
Pretoria - There is still a cold shoulder for the Cheetahs' fleet-footed scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius in the Springboks' World Cup squad, but two of his Super Rugby team-mates should know by next week whether they will be ready for the Tri-Nations tournament.
Heinrich Brüssow and Juan Smith will be hoping for the green light to regain their match-fitness in the Tri-Nations or Currie Cup.
Pretorius was again snubbed when SA Rugby announced a replacement for Ricky Januarie in the training squad announced earlier with a view to the Tri-Nations and World Cup squad.
The squad will convene in Cape Town from 5 to 8 July.
The Sharks' Charl McLeod was called up to join the squad as fourth scrumhalf following Januarie's retirement from international rugby.
It was expected that Griquas star Pretorius might slip in via the back door, but he is clearly not in coach Peter de Villiers's plans.
"It makes no sense that Charl was included ahead of Sarel. Both are among the best attacking scrumhalves, but Sarel is the leading try-scorer and that indicates that his form is superior. He should have been rewarded," said Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie.
He added that it was too early to say whether it was the end of Pretorius's hopes of making the Bok squad.
"Fourie du Preez is finishing at the Bulls and moving overseas. However, Sarel is also moving overseas (to the Waratahs), which makes it more difficult for him to make the team.
"I think the back door is still open for him. If he keeps working on the basics and his passing and kicking improves even further, Sarel could still become a Springbok."
The squad of 49 will get together in Cape Town on Wednesday for medical tests, but the Stormers players will not be there if they win their semi-final against the Crusaders at Newlands.
De Villiers should get clarity at the camp about the fitness of at least six players in the squad with an eye on the Tri-Nations and World Cup.
The make-up of the loose-trio for the Tri-Nations may well depend on the fitness of Smith, Brüssow, Duane Vermeulen and Willem Alberts, who are currently all injured. Alberts injured his shoulder against the Crusaders at the weekend.
Brüssow told Sport24 that he hoped to play in three weeks’ time - either for Free State in the Currie Cup or the Springboks in the Tri-Nations.
Schalk Burger and Pierre Spies are very close to being overplayed. Both have already played more than 1000 minutes of Super Rugby and as things stand now Ashley Johnson could easily make his Test debut against the Aussies when the Boks play them in Sydney on 23 July.
Gurthrö Steenkamp is another player who was out of action for a long time, but should be declared fit for the Tri-Nations.
He last played three months ago prior to breaking his arm, but has been training hard for the past month. He should also be cut loose against the Aussies.
De Villiers will announce the Tri-Nations squad on 9 July.