Mitchell backs Gqoboka for Bok call-up

Pretoria - Blue Bulls coach John Mitchell reckons prop Lizo Gqoboka could come into contention for a Springbok berth on the end-of-year tour to the northern hemisphere. 

The 27-year-old loosehead prop has been sidelined recently with an injury and is not in the squad for Friday's do-or-die Currie Cup clash against the Pumas at Loftus, but Mitchell believes he is nearing a return and that there is no reason why he shouldn't be considered for the Bok set-up.

"We had to manage his lower back injury and his groin," Mitchell said in Pretoria on Wednesday.

"In his absence his metrics were down as well and they've now come up. He's also had to manage getting married as well, so he's had a lot on his plate.

"I'm sure he can if he maintains his metrics and he remains healthy, there is no reason why they (Springboks) can't take another look at him and give him an opportunity.

"Just because he hasn't played here doesn't mean that he's not ready."

In Gqoboka's absence, Pierre Schoeman has been retained in the No 1 jersey.

In the national side, meanwhile, Tendai Mtawarira and Steven Kitshoff are the current favourites in the position. 

Kick-off on Friday is at 19:00.

Teams:

Blue Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (captain), 12 JT Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Matthys Basson, 18 Jano Venter, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Travis Ismaiel

Pumas

15 Gerrit Smit, 14 Selom Gavor, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 Ruwellyn Isbel, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jannie Stander, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Khwezi Mona 

Substitutes: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Gerrie Labuschagne