Bok blazer beckons Gelant
BULLS and former Junior Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant has probably done enough this year to become a Springbok, but will it be enough in the eyes of coach Allister Coetzee to depose incumbent Andries Coetzee?
Beyond the conundrum of having to juggle with the reliable and safe Andries Coetzee and the explosive and exciting Gelant, coach Coetzee has plausible reasons not to make drastic changes to a side that is not broken, but that could lead to fears of players like Gelant being left to carry tackle-bags and water bottles for the month-long tour in Europe.
But Coetzee has given Gelant plenty to be hopeful about that he will return from this tour wearing his Springbok blazer instead of carrying it like all uncapped players.
Coetzee’s praise for Gelant has been glowing since he last worked with him at the beginning of the Rugby Championship in August and that has been brought about by Gelant’s scintillating form for the Blue Bulls in the Currie Cup.
There had been signs of Gelant coming of age and developing into a true contender for the Bok No 15 jumper in June against the touring French Barbarians, where Gelant was at his devastating best as he scored two tries and created another in the second match played at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Coetzee believes Gelant’s presence in the Springbok squad will help him grow even further and spending time with the likes of assistant coaches and former Springboks Franco Smith and Bendan Venter will enhance his game.
“What is important to me is that when he was in the squad, he understands what the next level is,” Coetzee said this week.
“He goes back and keeps performing and he has really done well, and I’m pleased that Warrick is back in the mix.
“It is just about his growth; the more he rubs shoulders with the players here (the Boks), the more he will blossom.
“There are a few things we can work on amongst the Springbok coaches to make sure he improves.”
Having recovered from a fractured cheekbone and two knee injuries over the past two years, which resulted in him missing out on the Springbok Sevens squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 22-year-old can probably wait another week or two carrying his blazer, tacklebags and water bottles.
But it can’t be more than that because Gelant’s time to become a Springbok has finally arrived.