Boks loss is Lions gain
8 Jun 2006
Springbok coach Jake White has done an about-turn on Wikus van Heerden, which is why the player was sent home from the Bok camp.
White was clearly a fan of Van Heerdenâ€™s and even went as far saying he was the Boks reserve captain should John Smit be injured.
However, despite Smitâ€™s absence from the Springbok XV at Ellis Park, van Heerden was overlooked as captain in favour of Jean de Villiers. His ejection from the trimmed down squad followed shortly after.
It is clearly evident that the Van Heerden is no longer a sought-after commodity by the Springbok coach, but van Heerden vows to keep fighting for his Bok dream.
He now has a chance to impress the national selectors when the Currie Cup kicks off in a little more than a fortnight. The Lions will be hungry to bury the memories of a sorry Super 14 campaign, when they played as the Cats.
“Jake was very honest with me and said he saw me as a six flank and that I was reserve to Schalk and for that reason as long as he was fit I would not make the match 22,” van Heerden told keo.co.za.
Van Heerden is clearly disappointed to have not made the grade, but his focus is now on the Lions, for which he expects to play exclusively in the No 6 jersey. â€œI have spoken to Loffie (coach Eugene Eloff) and we will try it. I have played there before and only under (former coach) Frans (Ludeke) was I switched to seven.â€
The hard-working loose-forward says he actually prefers playing as a fetcher and was looking forward to honing his skills in the Currie Cup. â€œI only had my first session this (Wednesday) morning and Iâ€™m looking forward to getting back into it.â€
The Lions will be looking to break the shackles which have hampered the Cats in the Super 14 and re-build for the new season.
â€œWe have a few new guys and some youngsters, but are missing the guys involved with the Boks. It is a good chance to blood some new talent.â€
By Andrew Hollely