VIDEO: Jake's update on Cornal Hendricks v SA Rugby legal saga
Saturday’s Springbok team announcement – to take on the British and Irish Lions next month – will be a good indicator of how far down the road the conciliatory talks are between South African Rugby bosses and seasoned utility back Cornal Hendricks.
Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White, admittedly unsure if he was giving any ‘state secrets’ away, revealed that Hendricks may well miss the cut.
However, the Bulls boss confirmed that Hendricks is busy resolving the ‘legal issues’ he has with SA Rugby – declining to give any details about the dispute.
It is safe to say it is contract related and going back to when the 33-year-old was diagnosed with a heart ailment in 2016 – which threatened to end his career.
After three years in the wilderness, and following numerous false starts, Hendrick was cleared to play again and signed a deal with the Bulls ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season.
He has become a mainstay of the Pretoria franchise team under Jake White, who moved him from the wing to midfield with great success.
Speculation has been rife that he would get a look-in with the national team, but White revealed that there are some outstanding ‘legal’ issues between Hendricks and SA Rugby.
(Article continues below video – Jake White’s chat with the media …)
“There is work at play with him and SA Rugby, to sort out that whole dispute they had,” White told a post-match virtual media briefing – after the Bulls edged the Stormers 31-27 in their Rainbow Cup SA Round Five crunch match at Loftus Versfeld this past Friday.
“Once that happens [resolve the legal dispute], there will be openness with SA Rugby to include him.”
White admitted Hendricks may not feature in the Bok squad selection this weekend.
“I think it’s difficult when you have a guy like him who is, I think he had a litigation incident now with them [SA Rugby].
“But he has seen the light.
“I have chatted to him and told him: ‘Don’t go and lose opportunities’.
“I am hoping that common sense will prevail.
“The process has already started.
“SA Rugby and whoever is involved in decisions have met with Cornal and his legal staff.”
White said the willingness to resolve the issue bodes well for South Africa.
“He [Hendricks] has got so much to offer.
“He can play so many positions.
“He’s so experienced and has played Sevens [for the BlitzBoks].
“I am hoping that, in the next couple of days, if he misses out, we can sort something out so that at least he gets another crack.”
White said he was not able to share any details of the dispute.
“He is on the same page and appreciates that he doesn’t want to miss opportunities now that he is enjoying his rugby and playing so well.”
Hendrick made his Bok debut against Wales at Kingspark, Durban, in June 2014 and played in 12 Tests – his last outing against New Zealand at Ellispark, Johannesburg, in July 2015.
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