According to SA Rugby, former Bulls scrumhalf Fourie du Preez has ruled out return to his former team in order to play his way into the Bok side, insisting he will see out his 2-year commitment to Santory Sungoliath in Japan.
Speaking from his new home, du Preez apparently confirmed that while he remained available for Bok selection if needed, his feeling is that locally-based players should be given preference when it comes to national selection, in the same breath suggesting that his former understudy, Francois Hougaard, is the man he feels the Boks should look to at scrumhalf.
“I will always be available to play for the Springboks, but I’m well aware that we have a wealth of talented scrumhalves in South Africa, particularly someone like Francois Hougaard, whose time has now come to establish himself as the number one scrumhalf. It’s time for the next generation to step up, but I’d be happy to help if the coach calls on me,” Du Preez told the SA Rugby website.
There are, of course, those who will read Du Preez’s words quite selectively and interpret them as a clear intention to return to play for (and perhaps lead) the Boks in the upcoming series against England; it’s been hinted that Heyneke Meyer had the scrumhalf in his sights as one of the players he was strongly considering as a stand-in captain for that series and beyond. My reading of what the former Affies boy has said, though, is that he would prefer if Meyer only called him up in a real crisis and honestly believes it is now time for young players, such as Hougaard, to step up.
I’m pretty sure those are the same sentiments he will have conveyed to his close friend Meyer in private as well. The search for a Bok captain, in other words, looks set to continue.Tweet