Wales eye South African Hanno Dirksen
May 16, 2014
Ospreys' Hanno Dirksen qualifies to play for Wales on residency grounds © Getty Images
Wales are interested in bringing Ospreys' South African-born centre Hanno Dirksen into their international set-up, assistant coach Rob Howley has revealed.
Dirksen qualifies to play for Wales through residency and, although he has not been included in Warren Gatland's probables v possibles trial match for the tour to South Africa, the selectors are keen to bring him into the fold.
The centre is having to manage a knee problem for which he underwent surgery last year, meaning he cannot train at full capacity for his region, let alone at Test level.
But form that saw him make carries worth almost 350m of ground in just three matches has brought him to the attention of the Wales management.
"We've had a conversation about Hanno Dirksen," Howley told the South Wales Evening Post. "I've said to [Ospreys coach] Steve Tandy we are going to have to sit down and talk about trying to get the best out of Hanno for him to play international rugby.
"What the solution is I'm not too sure. It's very difficult. His knee problem has been an issue for 18 months at least. It is a shame, because Hanno is a quality player, but he's just playing game to game. Unfortunately then your conditioning drops off a level. We just cannot man-manage a player on a tour."
Dirksen is not the first foreign-born player to have attracted the recent attention of the Wales selectors. New Zealander Gareth Anscombe, who qualifies for Wales via his mother, is on the radar after impressing for Super Rugby's Chiefs.
Wales will name their squad for the two-Test tour to South Africa after the first probables v possibles trial match in 14 years on May 30.
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