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Rugby | Springboks

Raymond Rhule © Gallo Images

Rhule released, Leyds set to start



Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is set to give Dillyn Leyds his first start in a Springbok jersey this weekend in the team’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship match against Australia in Bloemfontein.

Leyds is set to be one of three changes to the side, with Francois Louw making his comeback to the team while Ross Cronje’s return from a viral illness makes him set to reclaim his halfback partnership with Elton Jantjies.

But it is the mixed messaging from Coetzee that is dominating talk around the central South African city, and not Leyds’s elevation into the team. That's after Coetzee first defended Raymond Rhule’s shortcomings and told the press corps he wasn’t about to drop him after one bad game, and then did exactly that 24 hours later.

The news came hidden at the end of an SA Rugby press release announcing the tempo had been upped for the Wallaby game and containing quotes from Franco Smith from the press conference earlier in the day.

“Meanwhile, the Springboks have released three players back to their provinces for Currie Cup and Pro14 duties this coming weekend.

Dan du Preez and S’busiso Nkosi will return to Durban on Tuesday evening to join up with the Cell C Sharks, while wing Raymond Rhule will re-join the Toyota Cheetahs and is available for Guinness Pro14 selection.

Coetzee will announce his match 23 on Thursday at 2pm during a press conference at the team hotel in Bloemfontein.”

While Du Preez was never in the mix for the starting 23, and Nkosi was included so that the Bok management could work with the talented youngster ahead of the end-of-year tour, Rhule’s inclusion in the trio to be released was in stark contrast to the firm defence that Coetzee put up a day before for the winger.

“We forget how good Raymond Rhule was against Australia. I’m not the kind of coach that will just look at a player on one game, one poor performance and then will chuck him away. He was outstanding against Australia,” Coetzee said on Monday.

Rhule is now eligible to play for the Toyota Cheetahs on Friday night against the Ospreys in their Pro14 game, but so far coach Rory Duncan has not indicated whether he will be included in the match-day 23.



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