Kankowski, who has been in brilliant form over the last month in Super Rugby, was widely tipped to be a certainty in Meyer’s group of 30 players given the injury to Duane Vermeulen and the poor form of Pierre Spies. However when Meyer announced his 30-man squad on Saturday, Kankowski’s name was absent.
Following a successful recall to the Springbok team during the England series and playing the rugby of his life at the Sharks, Kankowski was full of hope to form part of the Springbok squad to play in the Rugby Championship.
Speaking to Sportlive.co.za two weeks ago Kankowski said that he was fortunate that Heyneke gave him a chance to train with the Boks even though he’d been injured for so long.
“It always helps when a coach says he’s going to back you. He said that the door was open to show him what I could do.”
“Who knows? The Boks selectors can still select you if you’re that side [in Japan], so it’s not like I’m not going to be involved at all,” said Kankowski.
Asked on the omission of the Sharks 8th man, Meyer told Rugby365 that Kankowski’s decision to sign with the Japanese club, Toyota Verblitz, ultimately ruled him out.
“It is a tricky situation,” Meyer said in Worcester at the weekend, where he revealed the names of the 30 players that on Monday would start preparation for the opening round of the competition.
“We definitely looked at Ryan [Kankowski], I think he is probably playing the best rugby of his life.
“He was definitely considered and we spoke to Ryan as well, but it is quite difficult now for him to be selected and he is not being considered for this Test series.
“We spoke with him this [Saturday] morning and we will remain in contact – hopefully he will be available going forward.”
RuggaWorld has established that an IRB ruling could force the Japanese club to release Kankowski for Springbok duty since the Rugby Championship falls under the designated IRB test window, which suggests that the only reasons not to select him for the Springboks would have been for monetary issues, or the coach’s personal feelings in selecting foreign based players.
Since Kankowski is contracted to the Japanese club the Springbok management would have to pay for medical and injury insurance if they force the club to release the player for international duty whilst under contract with them. This insurance is tied to his actual contract with the club and his earnings which could run into tens of thousands of Rands.
It is also important to note that Kanko’s contract with the club is only for 6 months where he will be back for Super Rugby next year and the deal was signed before his recall to the Boks in June.
What do you think, is Kanko worth the money we would have to fork out given Spies’ current form and the fact that Vermeulen is probably a month away from full fitness required for test rugby?