Ex-Bok has hope for fringe players

2015-07-02 20:32
Wikus van Heerden (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok loose forward Wikus van Heerden says players on the fringes of Bok selection should not become despondent.

Van Heerden was a part of the Springbok squad that won the 2007 Rugby World Cup - a tournament he took more part in than he initially expected.

“We have to be honest. There’s almost a whole team on the Bok injury list. It is likely that one or two of those guys won’t be fit for the World Cup,” Van Heerden told Netwerk24.

“So long as you are in the national coach’s sights, then you have a chance to play in the tournament, even if it may not seem that way initially. Things change quickly.”

Van Heerden, who played 14 Tests for the Boks between 2003 and 2007, remembers how he got his chance in France.

“In 2007 I was a member of Jake White’s initial training group, but then I got injured and wasn’t even considered for that year’s Tri Nations.

“After we lost to the All Blacks in Durban, Jake decided to send that infamous ‘B-team’ to Australasia. Suddenly I was back in the picture. It was a surprise to be in the final World Cup squad.”

When Schalk Burger got suspended for two matches after a dangerous tackle performed on a Samoan player, Van Heerden got more than he bargained for in the tournament.

“It allowed me to play in the critical group game against England. I never thought I would be involved in six of our seven matches.”

Read more on:    springboks  |  rwc 2015  |  wikus van heerden  |  rugby


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