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Jooste has no beef with Hoskins

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Springbok selection Chief Peter Jooste on Monday denied that there is any rift between the national selection panel, which includes coach Jake White, and South African Rugby Union (SARU) president Oregan Hoskins.

Although they, the selections and coaching brainstrust of the national team, are very unhappy that Hoskins had ridden roughshod over their selection of a 45-man (now 46) Bok training squad, Jooste said they will still be able to work together.

Jooste has made it clear that both he and White (the Bok coach) are unhappy with the controversial manner in which Stormers skipper Luke Watson was added to the Bok training squad at the weekend.

The Bok selection boss again confirmed earlier reports that the presidency of SARU – Hoskins, deputy president Koos Basson and vice-president Mike Stofile – made an “executive decision” to include Watson in the squad.

Jooste said that neither he, nor White, who has a long-standing public feud with Watson, agreed with the decision.

However, he denied that this has resulted in a major split between the two groups, even though they do face the very real possibility that Hoskins and company will use the same executive powers to force Watson on the squad when it is reduced to 30 players this Friday.

“No, there is no animosity between us [the selectors and Hoskins] and we will be able to work together again in the future,” Jooste said.

He also denied that he feels his job could be at stake as a result of the fall-out over this and other controversial selection issues.

“I’m here till after the World Cup or even longer. I certainly haven’t got a problem with anybody and I don’t think my job is in jeopardy or anything. I’ve done nothing wrong, I’ve picked the squad and that’s it,” Jooste said.

However, he wasn’t prepared to discuss what will happen when Watson arrives at camp in Bloemfontein on Wednesday – considering the history of public spats between the coach and player, as well as reports that other senior players are unhappy that Watson has been forced onto the squad.

“The team has been announced and it is now out of my hands. I’m looking forward to the team getting together and starting to prepare.

“I am not going to be doing any coaching, that [how to handle Watson] is for the coach to decide. He [White] is going to work with the squad now. The coach will have to deal with it.”

Watson, meanwhile, is trying to avoid getting caught up in the controversy.

“Whatever happened, happened. I am in the squad now, so there’s no turning back. I will be in Bloemfontein on Wednesday for the training camp,” he told the media.

“I am honoured and privileged to be called up and I hope to make the most of the opportunity. I have worked hard to get to this point and now I’m going to work even harder to stay in the squad.”

365 Digital

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