With international travel all but shut down across the globe, Kriel and his compatriots who are playing their club rugby in Japan are struggling to get back to South Africa.
Kriel spoke to www.springboks.rugby from Doha on Wednesday morning, where he and former Vodacom Bulls coach Frans Ludeke were amongst many international travelers facing a 21-hour layover in the desert city.
“Fortunately for Frans and I, as well as my Canon team mates, we were able to fly out of Japan during the early hours of Tuesday morning,” said Kriel from Doha.
“Two of our previous flight were cancelled and we fortunate and very relieved when we able to board and fly out on a third flight that was rearranged.”
According to Kriel, some other RWC Springboks were not so lucky.
“Duane (Vermeulen), Malcolm (Marx), RG (Snyman) and Damian (De Allende) were not so fortunate – their flights were all cancelled and at this moment they’re still stuck at the airport in Tokyo,” said Kriel.
Two days ago, Vermeulen posted a video on Twitter which showed a group of people stranded at the airport. The Bok No 8 eventually boarded a plane on Wednesday afternoon (SA time).
Kriel, Marx and former Toyota Cheetahs flyhalf Fred Zeilinga can be seen in the video, as well as former Springbok coach Allister Coetzee and Ludeke. All are currently attached to Japanese clubs.
They were set to leave Japan after the cancellation of the Top League season.