Lions coach Eugene Eloff believes the Springbok team’s management have acted unprofessionally by including Jaque Fourie in the national squad without consulting his provincial coach.
Hennie Brandt writes in Beeld that Fourie, who was unable to play Currie Cup rugby against the Sharks last Saturday because he was still recovering from a groin injury, will join the Springbok setup in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The powerful Lions centre was on Monday included in the SA squad of 30 for the Test against Argentina on August 9 and for the Tri-Nations matches against New Zealand and Australia.
Eloff says no one spoke to him about Fourie’s injury before the player was recalled to the squad.
And he believes Springbok coach Peter de Villiers and the selectors are taking a risk, also from the player’s point of view.
Eloff said on Tuesday he did not feel it was right to select a player for international duty while he was still recovering from an injury.
“I believe Jaque could have played 40 minutes of Currie Cup rugby before being called up for national duty,” he said.
Confirming that he had not been consulted about Fourie’s fitness, Eloff said, “I feel this is unprofessional. What I would like to see is a more professional forum where the various medical teams and the coaches talk to each other.”
Eloff will have to do without Fourie when his team play Western Province in a Currie Cup match here on Saturday.
“We can do without Jaque, as we have done earlier this season. I just think we (South Africans) should be cleverer when players return from injuries.
“But I understand why Peter wants Jaque. He is a special player, just like Fourie du Preez.
“The Springboks want them back as soon as possible, because there is pressure on them,” Eloff said while the Lions were training in the Johannesburg Stadium.
Fourie did not attend the practice.
De Villiers and his selectors, Peter Jooste and Ian McIntosh, caught Eloff on the wrong foot when they called up Fourie on Monday.
The Lions were planning to give him until Thursday to prove he would be ready to play against WP.
But now he will join the Springbok squad in Pretoria on Wednesday while the Lions enjoy a rest day.
All members of the national squad will undergo fitness tests.
Eloff will have to make a change to the pack that played again the Sharks. Gerhard Mostert injured a shoulder in Durban and Anton van Zyl will partner Dewald Senekal at lock.
Alten Hulme is no longer available for the Lions because he has decided to play in Italy.
Among the backs, Heini Gordon may have to make room for Michael Killian on the right wing. Killian has played most of his first-class rugby at flyhalf and fullback but Eloff feels he has enough speed to play on the wing.Tweet