Cape Town - Former scrumhalf Werner Swanepoel thought it was a joke when he heard Sharks No 9 Cobus Reinach was called into an extended Springbok training camp scheduled for early April.
READ: Boks - Is Reinach a (very) quick-fix?
Coach Allister Coetzee earlier this week named another group - there has already been one camp - for a Stellenbosch rendezvous between April 2 and 4, this time excluding any players from the Bulls and Kings who will be campaigning abroad in Super Rugby.
Reinach, who boasts 10 Test caps, is due to quit the Sharks after this season’s Super Rugby competition, as he has signed terms with Northampton Saints in the English Premiership for the 2017/18 northern hemisphere season onward.
His involvement in Coetzee’s plans is interesting given that after the three-Test home series against France in June, Reinach supposedly becomes ineligible for the Boks until 2019 at the earliest (another World Cup year) under recent new SARU rules.
In an interview with Netwerk24, Swanepoel - who played 20 Tests for the Springboks between 1997 and 2000 - said he had always been a fan of Reinach’s game and believed he would be the successor to Fourie du Preez in the Springbok No 9 jersey.
“But every time his game is on par, he picks up an injury which sidelines him for long. I’m not sure if it was a joke from Coetzee to include Reinach. I’m not sure what goes on behind the scenes. Maybe one of the reasons for his inclusion is that they want to keep Reinach here (in South Africa),” said Swanepoel.
In terms of SA Rugby’s new stipulation, no overseas-based Bok players who do not boast more than 30 green-and-gold caps can in future turn out for the country, a policy that involves a reprieve in World Cup years.
Reinach will very soon, then, no longer be available for SA, including in the Rugby Championship and for the traditional end-of-year tour.
Reinach features alongside Jano Vermaak (Stormers) and Shaun Venter of the Cheetahs as scrumhalves in the latest training squad.
The commitments abroad for the Bulls of men like Rudy Paige and Piet van Zyl meant these prior Test players in the role could not be considered.
Lions scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, who played 11 Tests last year, was excluded from the squad.
Invited players for the second Springbok camp in Stellenbosch (April 2-4):
Ackermann - Lions, Lukhanyo Am - Sharks, Clayton Blommetjies -
Cheetahs, *Curwin Bosch - Sharks, Ruan Botha - Sharks, Uzair Cassiem -
Cheetahs, Andries Coetzee - Lions, Ruan Combrinck - Lions, Ruan Dreyer -
Lions, Jean-Luc du Preez - Sharks, Pieter-Steph du Toit - Stormers,
Eben Etzebeth - Stormers, Rohan Janse van Rensburg - Lions, Elton
Jantjies - Lions, Siya Kolisi - Stormers, Jaco Kriel - Lions, Pat Lambie
- Sharks, Dillyn Leyds - Stormers, *Wilco Louw - Stormers, Frans
Malherbe - Stormers, Lionel Mapoe - Lions, Malcolm Marx - Lions, Bongi
Mbonambi - Stormers, Oupa Mohoje - Cheetahs, Beast Mtawarira - Sharks,
Lubabalo Mtembu - Sharks, Lwazi Mvovo - Sharks, *Ox Nche - Cheetahs,
Coenie Oosthuizen - Sharks, Etienne Oosthuizen - Sharks, Chiliboy
Ralepelle - Sharks, Cobus Reinach - Sharks, Raymond Rhule - Cheetahs,
Seabelo Senatla - Stormers, Kobus van Wyk - Sharks, Jano Vermaak -
Stormers, Francois Venter - Cheetahs, Shaun Venter - Cheetahs, *EW
Viljoen - Stormers, Warren Whiteley - Lions, Fred Zeilinga - Cheetahs
*Indicates Young Guns