Cape Town - Wing Raymond Rhule is unlikely to lose his place in the Springbok starting XV for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Bloemfontein.
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Rhule has struggled on defence for the Springboks and slipped nine tackles in the 57-0 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand in Albany earlier this month.
But Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has indicated that he will give Rhule, who has started in all seven of South Africa’s Tests in 2017, another chance.
“Don’t forget how good Raymond was against Australia. I’m not a coach who will look at one poor performance and chuck someone away. He was outstanding against the Wallabies,” Coetzee was quoted as saying on SuperSport.com.
“There were a few areas where the All Blacks targeted us, but we will work on that and get better. In the seven Tests Raymond has played, he has gained a lot of experience, so now do I just throw him out and start all over again with a new player?”
The Bok coach said Rhule had admitted he made mistakes against the All Blacks.
“He was the first guy to text me and say ‘I watched the game again and I could have been better here or there’. The big thing is about owning up and taking responsibility, which is what I enjoy about this group of players,” Coetzee added.
There have been calls for Lions wing Combrinck to replace Rhule, but the Bok coach explained why he refrained from calling up Combrinck, who is currently playing club rugby in Japan.
"What I’ve looked at since the start of this year is players showing good form, that is the criteria that I used, and at this time after Super Rugby Ruan hasn’t played any rugby for Kintetsu Liners. He has been there for three games and he hasn’t started any of them," Coetzee said.
The Springbok team will be named on Thursday, with Rhule and Courtnall Skosan expected to keep their starting spots on the wing.
Other wing options in the squad are S’busiso Nkosi and Dillyn Leyds.
30-man Springbok squad for the Tests in Bloemfontein and Cape Town:
Forwards (17 players):
Uzair Cassiem, Lood de Jager, Ruan Dreyer, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth (captain), Steven Kitshoff, Siya Kolisi, Francois Louw, Wilco Louw, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Franco Mostert, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Chiliboy Ralepelle
Backs (13 players):
Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Damian de Allende, Elton Jantjies, Jesse Kriel, Dillyn Leyds, Rudy Paige, Handre Pollard, Raymond Rhule, Louis Schreuder, Jan Serfontein, Courtnall Skosan, S’busiso Nkosi