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Springboks explain the latest non-selection of Jaden Hendrikse

By Rugby365
(Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The name Jaden Hendrikse is almost certain to appear on the team sheet when Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber announces his Rugby World Cup squad next week Tuesday.

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Hendrikse is one of a few players that have not featured in The Rugby Championship and won’t play in the warm-up match against Argentina in Buenos Aires this coming Saturday.

The others – like captain Siya Kolisi and fly-half Handre Pollard – are still busy with their rehabilitation programmes and are likely to get a run in the warm-up matches later this month against Wales and New Zealand.

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WATCH Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explaining the selection of the ‘odd couple’ – Deon Fourie and Franco Mostert on the flanks for the Test against Los Pumas in Buenos Aires

Video Spacer

WATCH Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber explaining the selection of the ‘odd couple’ – Deon Fourie and Franco Mostert on the flanks for the Test against Los Pumas in Buenos Aires

However, the situation for Hendrikse is different. He is fit but won’t play this week. Having been through a vigorous rehabilitation programme following shoulder surgery, it means he has not played since April 1.

The situation was further complicated when the father of the Hendrikse brothers, Jaden and Jordan, passed away in late June – meaning he lost out on the opportunity to feature in the early rounds of the Rugby Championship.

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Hendrikse, first-choice Faf de Klerk, Grant Williams, Cobus Reinach and Herschel Jantjies are competing for what is presumed will be three (or four) scrum-half berths.

“Jaden would have played, was it not for the unfortunate family tragedy,” Nienaber said of the untimely death of Brian Hendrikse on June 29.

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However, the plan of which players will feature in which of the games – the three Rugby Championship games and this coming Saturday’s World Cup warm-up outing – was put in place and revealed to the players when the squad first got together back in April.

“We told them there might be adjustments,” Nienaber said, adding: “It was plotted way in advance.” The coach said it is easier for the management to decide on the 23-year-old, 12-cap Springbok.

“We know him. We know what he can do. We see him at training. We know what he did for us last year.”

Nienaber pointed to the Rugby Championship Test in Nelspruit in August last year when he replaced de Klerk (who left the field with a concussion) in the opening minute and played a key role in the Springboks’ 26-10 triumph.

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“He was a No9 – with very little Test experience [four previous caps] – that could help drive the pack forward. We know what is in Jaden. There is nothing you can read into that,” he said of Hendrikse’s current lack of game time.

“We wanted to give Cobus another go this weekend and we also wanted to give Herschel a go. The first opportunity for Herschel is in this game (against Argentina in Buenos Aires).

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“Jaden would have had his opportunities earlier (in the season). Due to very tragic circumstances, out of our control, he didn’t get his chance. Don’t read anything into it.”

Hooker Bongi Mbonambi will skipper the national team for the first time on Saturday. The team shows 13 changes to the starting line-up, while the bench includes uncapped prop Gerhard Steenekamp.

Mbonambi – who will earn his 60th Test cap – takes over the captain’s responsibilities in the absence of the regular captain Kolisi, who is making encouraging progress following knee surgery, and stand-in captains Eben Etzebeth and Duane Vermeulen, who remained in South Africa with a group of players in a conditioning camp.

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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