Rugby Championship

Kriel out in the Springbok cold, but only for now ...

2018-08-17 09:40
Jesse Kriel (Gallo)

Durban - When the Springboks went down 25-10 to England in the third Test at Newlands back in June, it was a day to forget for most of the South African side. 

One man who emerged with an enhanced reputation, however, was Bulls centre Jesse Kriel

In what was his 32nd Test match for the Boks, Kriel scored his side's only try of the game and was menacing throughout on both attack and defence. 

Now, just two months later, he finds himself on the verge of being released from the Springboks back to the Blue Bulls for the start of their Currie Cup campaign.

Kriel has not made the matchday squad for Saturday's Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Durban, with Bok coach Rassie Erasmus instead going back to Lukhanyo Am at outside centre while Lionel Mapoe cracks the nod as the bench cover. 

The race for the No 13 jersey at next year's World Cup in Japan seems to between those three players, and it is a potentially exciting one. 

Erasmus confirmed on Thursday that Kriel could feature in the Blue Bulls' Currie Cup clash against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.

That would obviously mean that there was no place for him in the touring squad to Argentina for the Boks' second Championship clash against the Pumas in Mendoza, but Erasmus insists that Kriel will get his chance at some point during the competition.

"I think we’re blessed with outside centres," Erasmus said.

"The nice thing about both Lionel and Jesse is that they cover wing and outside centre for you.

"Lukhanyo has a winning feeling now and I think he’s done nothing wrong. Jesse is knocking hard on the door and he will definitely get his chance in the Rugby Championship.

"We might let him play next week with the Bulls and he might not tour with us, just to give Lionel a fair run somewhere.

"There is not much to choose between them, and it’s a nice position to be in."

Andre Esterhuizen, meanwhile, will start at inside centre alongside Sharks team-mate Am.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse

Argentina

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia 

Read more on:    blue bulls  |  jesse kriel  |  rugby
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