Coetzee defends Bismarck omission

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has backed his decision to omit Montpellier hooker Bismarck Du Plessis from the 31-man squad he announced on Tuesday.

The squad will take part in a three-match Test series against France at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria (June 10), King's Park in Durban (June 17) and Ellis Park in Johannesburg (June 24).

Coetzee chose three hookers for the tour in Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (Sharks) but chose to leave out Du Plessis.

While admitting that the 33-year-old had a strong season in Montpellier, Coetzee is opting to stick with his locally based hookers and believes Marx is a more than capable first choice.

“I took note of his performances in France, but I just felt that in Malcolm Marx I have a hooker here at home who is delivering top-notch performances and showed he will definitely not let the team down,” Coetzee told Sport 24.

Coetzee did include four overseas-based players in his squad: prop Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux Bègles, France), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon, France), Francois Hougaard (Worcester Warriors, England) and Frans Steyn (Montpellier, France).

Kitshoff though is set to return to the Stormers full-time after completing his French duties.

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