Lambie, Steyn cleared

2011-08-23 00:00

THE prodigiously talented young Springboks Pat Lambie and Frans Steyn were last night cleared to play in the Rugby World Cup starting in New Zealand in just over a fortnight.

The pair were cleared for selection and are certain to be included in the 30-man squad that will be named by coach Peter de Villiers tonight.

Lambie suffered an injury to his shoulder in the opening quarter of Saturday’s Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks and left the field, while Steyn has been nursing a hamstring strain since the Test against the Wallabies in Durban.

Lambie underwent a series of tests yesterday and team doctor Craig Roberts said the fullback/flyhalf/centre had suffered a sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder.

“He will require rehabilitation and management, but the injury is not serious enough to rule him out of contention,” Roberts said.

Steyn is receiving ongoing rehabilitation to his hamstring injury and is well on the road to recovery, he added.

Former Western Province and Stormers flank Francois Louw could be the major surprise in the World Cup squad with coach De Villiers needing cover for fetcher Heinrich Brüssow.

Louw has been out of sight since going down with an injury during Super Rugby and he has since linked up with leading English club Bath. With Sharks’ flank and captain Keegan Daniel out in the cold, Louw could leapfrog both Ashley Johnson and Jean Deysel into the squad of 30.

There are unlikely to be too many other surprises and most of the debate has centred on the backrow following the withdrawal last week of Juan Smith.

Andries Bekker’s loss to injury has left a hole among the lock replacements and Gerhard Mostert, Johann Muller and Flip van der Merwe are in contention in the second row position if Danie Rossouw is selected as a loose forward.

The backline contains a number of versatile players with Lambie, Steyn, Gio Aplon, Francois Hougaard and Ruan Pienaar all able to play in at least two positions at the highest level. This will allow De Villiers to travel with a 13-17 split of backs to forwards, but specialist Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo is likely to be a casualty.

In spite of the bitter ongoing campaign being waged in the media by Ollie (“dial-a-quote”) le Roux against John Smit, his former Sharks team-mate will lead the Springboks in New Zealand.

But the call on whether the captain starts against Wales in the RWC opener on September 11, or plays off the bench, has still to be made. Certainly Bismarck du Plessis made a strong statement with his compelling, powerful performance against the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday and he was not happy to be replaced by Smit after an hour. He has since laughed off his grumpy reaction.

“I was enjoying myself out there, and any player who is playing well wants to stay on the field,” he told reporters with a smile.

POSSIBLE SQUAD:

Backs (13):Frans Steyn, Pat Lambie, JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Gio Aplon, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Butch James, Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Francois Hougaard and Ruan Pienaar.

Forwards (17): Pierre Spies, Willem Alberts, Heinrich Brüssow, Schalk Burger, Francois Louw, Danie Rossouw, Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Gerhard Mostert, Flip van der Merwe, Beast Mtawarira, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Jannie du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis and Chiliboy Ralepelle.

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