VIDEO: Rassie explains the 'other reason' for Hendricks omission
Cornal Hendricks is wanted by both the Springbok 15-a-side coaching staff and the South African Sevens team management.
In fact, he could feature at either the Olympics in Japan or against the British and Irish Lions in July.
However, a ‘medical clearance’ is the “other reason” he was omitted from the Bok squad announced at the weekend.
Rassie Erasmus, South Africa’s Director of Rugby, told a virtual media briefing at the weekend that hey are “waiting on the green light” from their medical and then the 33-year-old Bulls star will be called up to one of the national teams.
Hendricks 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.
He 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, Hendricks 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.
However, his name was missing from the 46-man squad unveiled by Erasmus and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber at the weekend.
Erasmus said Hendricks’ situation has been a ‘poser’ for the Bok management for some time.
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“We would love to see him [play for the BlitzBoks] in the Olympics,” the SA Rugby boss told a virtual media briefing, adding: “We would also like to consider using him against the British and Irish Lions.
“After that, there is the Rugby Championship and the year-end tour.”
Erasmus went on to give an explanation for the player’s absence.
“While [Bok coach] Jacques [Nienaber] is a qualified physiotherapist, we can’t make medical decisions,” the Director of Rugby said.
“If a player has a medical condition, like concussion for example, he has to be cleared by our medical team before he can be considered for the Boks or BlitzBoks.
“We all know that if you have a squad of 46 and Cornal [Hendricks] is not in the team, then there is another reason.
“Everybody can see he has great form.”
Erasmus and Nienaber had a chat with Hendricks about a fortnight ago and he is still “very keen” to play for the Boks.
“It is a personal medical situation, which I can’t get into,” Erasmus said, adding: “He knows where he stands with us.
“Jacques [Nienaber] and I am just waiting for the green light.
“[Springbok Sevens coach] Neil Powell is also waiting.”
Erasmus described it as “very good” conversations they had with the player, adding that they hope to have it resolved as soon as possible.