Stick holding out hope for Kriel
NEWS: Springbok backline coach Mzwandile Stick will be hoping Jesse Kriel makes a full recovery from his injury so that he and Juan de Jongh can continue their growth as a combination in the Bok midfield.
Speaking to reporters ahead of their crunch Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Durban, Stick believes that De Jongh and Kriel can soon become a world-class centre pairing, even though they have not delivered much in the last few games for the Boks.
Kriel is being given as much time as possible to recover from a groin injury he picked up in the 18-10 win over the Wallabies last weekend. Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee will name his matchday 23 for the All Blacks Test on Thursday.
Should Kriel not recover in time, Damian de Allende and Lionel Mapoe are the likely contenders to partner De Jongh in the midfield.
"We are trying to build some combinations - if the players don't click very well, we do give them time to recover and the same goes with Juan [De Jongh] and Jesse [Kriel].
"They have the potential to become one of the best combinations. If Jesse is going to recover, hopefully, the coach is going to give them another opportunity [against the All Blacks]."
Meanwhile, the Bok coaching team will have to decide between Francois De Klerk and Francois Hougaard for the No.9 jersey.
Rudy Paige, who impressed in the win over the Wallabies, was ruled out with concussion, while Blue Bulls scrumhalf Piet van Zyl was brought into the squad as cover.
Hougaard, who started on the wing against the Wallabies, moved into the scrumhalf position when Paige left the field, while De Klerk did not even make the matchday 23 last week after some indifferent performances for the Boks on tour.
We got two scrumhalves in our camp at the moment and we also invited a third one which is Piet van Zyl.
"We will just have to wait and see on Thursday what call the coach is going to make, but I think we should be covered there," Stick added.
"Faf de Klerk is one of the most dangerous scrumhalves at the moment in our country and in the Southern Hemisphere - we will wait and see the call the coach makes between Faf and Hougie [Francois Hougaard].
"If there are injuries, we got back up in Piet van Zyl."
By Warren Fortune, in Durban