Gurthrö to replace Beast

2012-11-13 00:00

The heart condition which has forced Sharks loosehead prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira to quit the Springbok tour of the UK is not career-threatening.

Mtawarira left Edinbugh yesterday on his way home and his place in the tour party will be taken by the 21-year-old Western Province prop Frans Malherbe.

Mtawarira was a late withdrawal from the Test against Ireland as a precautionary measure after he had a recurrence of mild heart palpitations late on Friday night.

He travelled with the rest of the squad to Edinburgh on Sunday and team doctor Craig Roberts said yesterday that the Sharks prop could have played against Scotland on Saturday.

“The Beast has an irregular heart rhythm, which is hereditary. He has had this several times before and it’s always been managed accordingly,” said Roberts.

“This condition is not life-threatening, but needs to be managed properly, which is why we thought it would be in Beast’s best interest to return to South Africa.

“He needs to have a repeat of the minor procedure he had in Cape Town earlier this year.” Roberts emphasised that Mtawarira is not at risk by playing with the condition “and his career is not in jeopardy”.

“This has happened to him five times before, but usually after he has played. There are quite a few other players who have had it,” Roberts added.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer said the player’s welfare was always the most important consideration.

“We’ve consulted with Beast and his cardiologist in Durban and, although it’s safe for him to play, we decided it would be best for him to return home and rest,” said Meyer.

Malherbe will join the Springbok squad in Edinburgh tomorrow and Meyer said he had opted for a tighthead as a replacement as his first-choice No 3, Jannie du Plessis, is nursing a mild ankle sprain .

Meyer said that loosehead Gurthrö Steenkamp, now based in France, would be available for selection against Scotland after missing the Ireland Test due to injury.

“I am pleased that he is now fit and ready to play. It was a big call for me to select Gurthrö. Ideally, I would like to have Beast starting and Gurthrö coming on off the bench, but I’m pleased we have a player of Gurthrö’s experience and ability ready to come in.”

CJ van der Linde and Heinke van der Merwe can also cover loosehead, while Du Plessis, Malherbe and Pat Cilliers are all options at tighthead.

Meyer yesterday criticised his team’s lack of composure on attack against the Irish and said it was unacceptable at the highest level.

“We tried too many things too early against Ireland and gave away turnovers. That’s part of our learning curve. I’ve been hard on the players about our patience. The top teams in the world get points when they get in there [the attack zone]. It may be a coaching or inexperience thing, but it has to improve.”

Meanwhile, the Boks’ win in Dublin, and the Wallabies’ loss to France, has resulted in changes to the world rankings.

The Springboks have improved to second, with Australia dropping to third and France replacing England in fourth place. The rankings on December 3 will determine the seeding for the 2015 World Cup in England. The teams ranked one to four will be kept apart at the pool stage.

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