Du Preez: Reinach is SA's No.1 scrumhalf

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 10:46

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Sharks head coach Robert du Preez believes Cobus Reinach is currently the best scrumhalf in South Africa.

Reinach will play his 50th Super Rugby match against the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday and his head-to-head battle with Francois de Klerk will attract a lot of attention.

The Sharks scrumhalf was included in Allister Coetzee's latest Springbok squad for a camp in Stellenbosch next week, while De Klerk was left out.

Reinach's inclusion in the Bok setup raised eyebrows as he is leaving South Africa for English club Northampton Saints at the end of the current Super Rugby season, which means he will become ineligible for Springbok selection after the June international window.

Under the new South African Rugby Union rules, only overseas-based Springboks with more than 30 Test caps will be eligible for national selection after July 1. Reinach currently has 10 Test caps. 

"Cobus [Reinach] is a very good No.9," Du Preez told reporters ahead of the clash against the Lions.

"He is the number one scrumhalf in the country and we know he will get better every week. 

"I think he is improving every week. He is a stalwart and he has been with this union for eight years. He is a fantastic guy to have in our setup.

"I think he will be a huge loss."

Meanwhile, Du Preez has included Garth April in his starting XV for the clash against the Lions ahead of French international Clément Poitrenaud.

April will wear the No.15 jersey and Du Preez believes the 25-year-old is mentally right for the challenge.

"Garth I thought did really well when he came on [in the 38-30 win against the Cheetahs]," he said. 

"It has been a long tough road for Garth coming back, but he is in a great space mentally. We are very happy with Garth having a start," 

Du Preez added: "Clement had a bit of a niggle two weeks ago against the [Southern] Kings and I just wanthim to play 80 minutes of rugby, so we are going to give him an opportunity to do that against Griquas on Friday. 

"He needs to get 80-minute games under the belt and then he will definitely be coming back into the setup."

@rugby365com

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