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Gloucester’s Boer living in Springbok hope

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Boer moved to the United Kingdom in 1997 in the hope of securing a club contract. Now, after a superb 2002/03 season, the hard-as-nails flanker is one of a host of players from abroad that has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Boks' World Cup squad.

But has Springbok coach Rudolf Straeuli spoken to him?

"Yes," said Boer to Planet Rugby, "he [Straeuli] has been in touch with a number of us overseas."

However, that is where the discussions have ended with Straeuli.

At this stage only Ulster front rower Kempson and Boer's Gloucester team-mate, utility back Thinus Delport, have been confirmed as the 'imports' who have a chance of featuring in South Africa's Rugby World Cup squad.

They are the only two players from abroad that have officially returned to SA to play domestic rugby, after SA Rugby (Pty) Ltd reached an agreement with their respective clubs to release them from their overseas contracts.

But Boer hasn't totally given up on his Bok dream just yet, even though time is running out, adding: "For the moment I am just living in hope."

He is not actively canvassing for a local team to play for, a prerequisite to being considered for the Springboks, while he has had no offers: "But if an offer comes my way, I will certainly consider it.

"To play for your country remains the dream of any youngster and it is also still my dream."

However, if any offers are to come his way they will have to come soon.

He needs to return to Gloucester in July, with their first pre-season match scheduled for early August.

It was Boer's form for the 'Cherry and Whites' in the Zurich Premiership, where they topped the standings and lost to Wasps in the Final, which saw him being rewarded with the Zurich Premiership players' Player of the Year award.

Add to that his leadership – he captained his side to glory in the Powergen Cup Final in the absence of injured Lions and England star Phil Vickery – and it is not surprising that Straeuli has finally started taking notice of his form.

The 27-year-old Boer is currently on vacation in Cape Town during the European off-season where is catching up with old school friends and, most importantly he adds, "keeping fit".

He has also managed to watch a bit of rugby – although not live – and is optimistic about the progress that Straeuli's Boks have made in their first two Tests of the year – a charmed 29-25 win over Scotland in Durban on June 7 and a slightly more convincing 28-19 win over the same opposition at Ellis Park last Saturday.

However, he feels the Springboks have been far too tense in their approach to their first two internationals in this World Cup year.

"The first Test was very disappointing," he said.

"The second Test against was slightly better. But there is still quite a bit of work to be done for the Boks. The guys must just stop being so edgy and just play, and then they will perform better."

By Jan de Koning


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