Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says that Ruan Combrinck's exclusion in the squad for home matches against Australia and New Zealand is down to his lack of game time.
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Following the 57-0 hammering the Boks suffered against the All Blacks in Albany two weekends ago, there had been loud calls for Combrinck's inclusion after the struggles of right wing Raymond Rhule in that match.
Instead, Coetzee bulked up his wing stocks by calling up Sharks speedster Sbu Nkosi while Combrinck, who is available for Bok selection, remains with his Japanese club Kintetsu Liners.
Coetzee and the Boks are currently in Bloemfontein preparing for Saturday's clash against the Wallabies, and it didn't take long before the under-fire coach was asked about Combrinck's exclusion as he was facing media at a press briefing on Monday.
"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 was quoted as saying on SuperSport's website.
"I burnt my fingers last year when we had players coming from France and we spoke about their conditioning and their fitness levels. We are at a crucial stage of our campaign at this point of time."
Coetzee said that the difference between Combrinck's situation and that of flyhalf Handre Pollard, who has played minimal rugby for nearly two years, is that Pollard has been in the Springbok set-up throughout his rehabilitation.
Still, Coetzee said that Combrinck was still part of the Springbok plan moving forward.
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