Bok was 'jealous' of Kiwis and Aussies
JACO KRIEL IN THE SPOTLIGHT: After nearly six months away from the field, the Lions’ players are champing at the bit.
Seasoned Springbok Jaco Kriel, in a question and answer session on the Lions website, admitted it has been tough watching the New Zealand and Australian players strut their stuff while their South African rivals were forced to kick their heels.
Kriel, 31, hasn’t featured in any matches since his return from Gloucester in England’s Premiership.
Capped 11 times by the Boks, Kriel returned to his country of birth in the middle of last year.
Foot surgery sidelined him at the start of the year and when the COVID-19-enforced lockdown kicked in, he was joined on the sidelines by his Lions teammates – like sportsman around the world.
However, the lower infections rates in New Zealand and Australia allowed the Kiwis to return to action in June for Super Rugby Aotearoa and across the Tasman Sea, the Aussies started Super Rugby AU in July.
South Africa’s seven-team Currie Cup – reduced from eight after the Southern Kings pulled the plug on their participation – will get underway sometime next month.
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) August 26, 2020
Kriel admitted it has been tough frustrating watching other teams playing while you are not even allowed to train.
SA Rugby revealed on Friday that local teams will only return to full-contact training from early next week, following completion of final health checks.
“I followed the New Zealand and Aussie competitions a bit and I was more jealous than anything else,” Kriel told the Lions’ website.
“Watching some of it just made me realize how tough it’s going to be on the body playing local SA derbies for a couple of weeks.”
He admitted that the things he missed most were the “group environment, the banter between the boys, the good laughs and the hard work alongside each other”.
“As we head into our new adventure, I believe everyone is so excited to get back on the field no matter what the format is going to be which is great.
“It seems like the love for the game grew much stronger in this time.”
He said the most difficult aspect was not knowing when they were going to resume playing again.
“It’s one thing working hard with some goals in mind, but working hard not knowing where the finish line is challenging,” Kriel said.
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— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) August 25, 2020