'I'm not chucking him away'

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 14:39

REACTION: Springbok head coach Allister Coetzee believes the Cheetahs' Pro14 clash against the Ospreys will be a good opportunity for wing Raymond Rhule to work on his defensive game.

Rhule was sent back to the Cheetahs from the Bok squad earlier this week after Coetzee said he was not going to drop a player after "one poor performance".

That "poor performance" was against the All Blacks in Albany two weeks ago, which the Boks lost 0-57. Rhule was exposed on defence in that game and it ultimately cost him a place in this week's starting XV for the clash against the Wallabies in Bloemfontein.    

Dillyn Leyds will take over from Rhule for Saturday's Test.

Despite Rhule's demotion to the Pro14, Coetzee believes he is still a good player at international level. 

"I am very happy with Raymond Rhule and I haven't discarded him," Coetzee told reporters on Thursday.

"One has to understand, a player like Dillyn Leyds has been knocking on the door and he has been playing well. 

"There are certain boxes that Raymond does tick as a wing. His kick-chase is good, his cross cover is good. He moves off his side to come outside nine and inside 10 - those are all good things, but the reality is he has to work on his defence. 

"A lot of players will also have to do that. But it is time that I do have look and see what Dillyn Leyds can do and bring to the side this weekend.

"He [Leyds] has been constantly playing well when he went to play Currie Cup and that is what we want to see and we also had a great look at Sibusiso Nkosi and I am very excited to have him in the mix as well."

Coetzee said bringing Leyds in for Rhule is all part of his plan to build depth in his squad.

"I'm not chucking him [Rhule] away. He is joining us on Sunday in Cape Town," Coetzee said aggressively.

He added: "I am not starting all over. He [Leyds] has been part of the process. Why in South Africa when we try to build depth it is chucking away and when the All Blacks or some other team does it, then they are clever. 

"I think we want to build depth and capacity where we want to go to with this team. [It is] the first year that they are together and we need to do that.

"We have a long-term approach as well for 2019, but we also want to make sure that for 2017 we get the results as well. So, I am looking at wings that we have in the country - Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule and Sibusiso Nkosi. 

"When do I give them an opportunity, if I don't do it now? Therefore, it is important that I am fair and give players an opportunity when it is needed."

For Coetzee, the Cheetahs' Pro14 clash against Ospreys will give Rhule an opportunity to get some much-need practice on defence.  

"We just don't say go play Pro14. We say go play Pro14 and go work on tracking, work on your body height. So, he has got certain cues that he needs to go work on.

"This is a process that we are busy with - developing individual players and developing as a team. That is what it is about. We are not sending him to Pro14 to get rid of him. He has got certain things that he needs to go work on in competition, under pressure to get it right," said Coetzee. 

By Warren Fortune, Bloemfontein

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