Mitchell balk Boks system
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Blue Bulls director of rugby John Mitchell has opted not make use of Springboks Rudy Paige and Handré Pollard when they face the Sharks on Saturday in Durban.
Pollard and Paige are two of the seven Springboks released by coach Allister Coetzee with the intention of getting valuable game time in the Currie Cup.
Other Springboks released are the Western Province trio of Damian de Allende (centre), Dillyn Leyds (utility back) and Wilco Louw (prop), as well as Sharks duo Mahlatse Ralepelle (hooker) and Daniel du Preez (loose forward).
Pollard came on as a second-half replacement for the Springboks against the All Blacks on Saturday in Albany, his first Test appearance since the 2015 World Cup. He has struggled with an ankle injury for the most part of the season, which limited his playing time.
However, Mitchell's plan to rejuvenate the Blue Bulls takes preference over the Springboks set-up.
Mitchell, who took the All Blacks to a World Cup semifinal and finished his New Zealand coaching career with 82 percent success rate, remains adamant that he will not play the Springbok duo this weekend.
Stating that the constant changes are setbacks for his plans of establishing cohesion and continuity in the Blue Bulls squad.
"[Pollard and Paige] will not play this weekend," Mitchell told Netwerk24, adding: "I was very clear about that and they comprehend the situation.
"The cohesion of the team takes preference at this stage. We have to get more continuity so that we can play more as a unit. There were far too many changes in the last while due to factors out of our control,"
The New Zealander also stated that the two can still train with the side and will be fit when the Springboks take on Australia on September 30 at the Free State Stadium.
"They can still prepare very well for Test week by training with us in the training week," he said.
This is not the first time Mitchell has swing a shot in the Springboks' direction.
After the Springboks' 0-57 defeat to New Zealand, the Blue Bulls' mentor stated that the Springboks are 'too prescriptive' when it comes to their game plan.
He further stated that it would be a waste to send any creative players into the current Bok environment, in particular, Warrick Gelant.