Resting up the injured

2014-09-23 00:00

THE Springboks have ruled out the return of Willem Alberts and Francois Louw for at least six weeks, providing the chance for other flanks to show their mettle in the remainder of the Rugby Championship competition.

Springbok doctor Craig Roberts confirmed both first choice flanks have had back surgery. Alberts was already on the road to recovery after surgery on a pinched nerve last week, while Louw was in theatre yesterday to relieve pressure on a nerve in his neck.

“Francois initially took a knock to his head and the scans showed damage to a nerve in his neck. He has had surgery today on the [affected] disc and that should relieve the pressure [on the nerve],” Roberts told SAPA yesterday.

Recovery was expected to take around eight weeks.

With Schalk Burger joining the Springbok camp in Cape Town yesterday, there was still plenty of firepower in the Bok loose trio. Speculations abound on the selection for this weekend.

Cheetahs blindside Teboho “Oupa” Mohoje has been praised by the Bok coaching staff, but was still to add to his solitary Bok cap he earned in June.

It seems likely Marcell Coetzee would shift to the openside in Louw’s absence, but the number seven jersey would either go to Burger or Mohoje, while Lions captain Warren Whiteley was also an option.

Some would argue it would be a disservice to not select Mohoje in the starting line-up considering his role in the squad in recent weeks. However it was difficult not to select Burger, who is a 71 test veteran. Although they were not in selection contention, Western Province players Nizaam Carr (flank) and Seabelo Senatla (wing) and Kings prop Lizo Gqoboka would train with the Boks this week to experience life in the Bok camp.

The injured Senatla would not train, but would work with the squad until tomorrow. Carr trained with the side yesterday and Gqoboka would join them for training tomorrow.

“They are three promising young players we’ve identified and we’d like to expose them to the Springbok ethos while also having a look at what they can do in training,” said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer.

Meanwhile Australia will travel to South Africa with more injury woes. This prompted the maiden call-up of Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea as a backup for James Hanson and Saia Faingaa. Scrumhalf Will Genia also returns to the side after a lengthy injury layoff.

The Boks would announce their side to face Australia tomorrow.

The penultimate test of the Rugby Championship kicks off at 5.05 pm on Saturday.

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