Despite being part of the wider squad, Kriel is yet to make an appearance for the Boks in a test match.
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His chance may come when they face Argentina in Johannesburg next week, providing him with a golden opportunity to showcase his abilities and remind the Bok coaches of his potential.
As the final match of the truncated Rugby Championship approaches, South Africa aims to finish the tournament with a commanding victory, even though they require some help to secure the title.
At 29 years old, Kriel possesses the versatility to play in various backline positions, including center and winger, and can also cover the fullback position.
His ultimate goal is to secure a spot in the match-day squad and make a strong case for his inclusion in the World Cup.
When asked about his desire to wear the Springbok jersey and play, Kriel emphasized his eagerness, stating,
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“Of course I am desperate. I definitely want to play. If you ask any single guy in the squad if they do want to play, the answer will always be yes. If you don’t want to play, then there is a big problem.”
However, he understands that team selection depends on the specific requirements for each game, as Coach Jacques Nienaber aims to match the players’ skill sets to the team’s needs.
Having played for Canon Eagles in the Japanese Top League, Kriel had a remarkable season at his club, and he recently enjoyed the company of fellow Bok player, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, who joined the Japanese team.
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Reflecting on his experience in a foreign country, Kriel revealed how being away from distractions both on and off the field allowed him to focus more on rugby and improve as a player.
“Playing in Japan has been a great thing for me. I’ve been there for four years now, and you get a lot more time to work on your game. The Japanese are also extremely hard-working people, and their work ethic is really great. Guys help you with extras,” Kriel said.