'Door not closed' on Louw
Cape Town – The omission of Francois Louw from the weekend’s Springbok training squad does not necessarily mean the end of the outstanding Western Province flank as a Test player.
That assurance comes from no-one else than Bok coach Peter de Villiers, who told Sport24 that they were merely considering their options and that the door had not been shut on Louw.
“We made a few tough calls with the World Cup in mind. We know what we have in Francois,” said De Villiers.
“We’re not completely excluding him. We’re playing opponents on softer grounds now and looked at some other players that performed well. The door is not closed. We’d like to be in a position to pick the players that fit into our environment the best.
“We don’t want to miss the opportunity to weigh up other players. Jaque Fourie (injured centre) would have loved to go on this tour, but it will be good to see how players react without him in the side. The experience may even benefit us if we pick up injuries during the World Cup next year.”
Even so, the treatment of Louw is a surprise as he had a strong Super 14 and performed well at Test level.
He made his Test debut against Wales in Cardiff and played 7 matches in the Green and Gold this year. The grandson of Jan Pickard even scored his first test try in the win over France at Newlands in front of the pavilion named after his grandfather.
There was a lot of excitement about Louw for a few months this year, but he lost his place in South Africa’s loose-trio after the Springboks’ second test against New Zealand on their Tri-Nations tour. His last Test was as a substitute in the Boks’ 22-29 defeat against the All Blacks in Soweto.
Louw was superb in WP’s Currie Cup semi-final against Free State Cheetahs at Newlands and it came as a shock when he was not announced in the preliminary Bok training squad later that evening and therefore does not appear to be in the immediate plans.
The only place for Louw to change the selectors’ minds is on the field. His performance in the semi-final before he got the bad news was definitely a reminder of his talent.
Indeed, the selectors’ drastic action may just motivate him to come up with another big performance in what will be a huge battle of the loose forwards in Saturday’s Currie Cup final.