Bok blazer beck­ons Ge­lant

Saturday Star - - SPORT - VATA NGOBENI

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.

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