Kriel set for Bok comeback

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:00

SPRINGBOK SPOTLIGHT: Star loose forward Jaco Kriel is set to end an eight-month absence from the Springbok matchday squad this coming Saturday.

The 26-year-old openside flank has been watching from the sidelines as Teboho Mohoje, Siyamthanda Kolisi and now Jean-Luc du Preez got to feast on some French delicacies - in the 37-14 (Pretoria) and 37-15 (Durban) Test victories the past fortnight.

Kriel, who has not tasted Test rugby since October 8 last year, has been training with the squad since May.

However, a knee injury he suffered in April, means he has been "slowly" brought back to fitness.

He has played Super Rugby since his return, but Bok coach Allister Coetzee has been reluctant to give him game time at Test level.

In the third and final Test at Ellis Park this coming Saturday he is set to make a 'comeback'.

Coetzee, addressing the media at the team's base in Fourways, Johannesburg, said seven-times capped Bok will almost certainly be in the matchday squad.

With Mohoje sidelined through concussion, suffered in Durban last Saturday, Du Preez is set to start his first Test at Ellis Park.

There was a suggestion that Kriel should get game time somewhere else, but the Bok coach believes "it is more beneficial" to have a player like Kriel in the Bok team.

"Jaco Kriel might find himself in the starting [matchday] 23 this week," Coetzee said.

He said Kriel has recovered completely from his knee injury.

"He was a week ahead with his rehabilitation and return to training," Coetzee said, adding: "He is much more confident in training.

"I can't wait to see Jaco Kriel get a chance to play in the Springbok side again."

Coetzee reiterated his earlier statement that he would like to 'build capacity' (or depth) in the team.

"That could lead to one or two changes, without creating complacency. [I won't be] making changes for the sake of making changes.

"We have combinations going and we want to keep continuity as far as possible.

"In the right positions, where I need to see certain players, this is an opportunity to have a look at them.

"However, it won't be wholesale changes.

"For us it is important to continue growing as a team and continue winning."

By Jan de Koning, in Johannesburg
@King365ed
@rugby365com