Elrigh Louw pleaded for game time with the Bulls less than two minutes after learning he would not be required for the Springboks’ match against Argentina this weekend in Durban.
And Jake White was only too happy to oblige, including him in the URC meeting with Edinburgh on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.
“He actually called me literally two minutes after he was told he could come home and told me he needed to play,” said the Bulls’ director of rugby.
I’ve seen a lot of the other side, with the guys being on tour and away from home for an extended period of time and telling me they need time off. So this is new and refreshing for me.
“I’m sure he’s excited to play because he’s young. It’s great to have him back after a strong performance against Argentina last weekend.
“When a player texts you almost immediately after meeting with the national coach, it’s very encouraging. It’s encouraging to know he wants to play for us. I’m quite looking forward to seeing him operate in this loose trio, it gives us a lot of options.”
While Louw was surprisingly released at the start of the week after making a discernible impact for the Boks in Buenos Aires as a replacement, White admitted that a bigger surprise for him was two of his star backs, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Sbu Nkosi, both being called in to the national camp.
Arendse was subsequently included on the bench for the clash at Kings Park, but there was probably an argument to be made that Nkosi could’ve benefitted from another 80 minutes as he continues his recovery from a long-term injury.
“I was surprised because the Boks did really well last week and I didn’t think they’d move away from that group, which they obviously did. I don’t want to speak on their behalf, but I did hear that there were a few niggles they waited to get clarity on at the final minute,” said White.
“That obviously influenced our selection, but to be fair, I’ve been on the other side too. I understand how you feel. The Boks must come first. If a 50-50 guy pulls up on Saturday morning, having Sbu in your group comes in handy.
“Sbu, Kurt-Lee, and Canan (Moodie) should be back next week. That’s a lot of detail.”