Return of Matfield and Alberts a huge boost for Boks

2014-08-27 00:00

THE Springboks have received a massive boost before their tour of Australasia with veteran lock Victor Matfield and Willem Alberts back in the fold.

Both players have been missed by the Boks and they will no doubt add some stability and power to the Bok pack that was seriously questioned in their 33-31 win over Argentina last weekend.

Matfield and Alberts missed out the first two matches of the Rugby Championship through injury and will join the Springboks when they reassemble in Johannesburg tomorrow.

Alberts, who had a grade one tear in his hamstring, will be assessed when he joins up with the squad while Matfield is clear to play after recovering from a knee injury.

The inclusion of the two unfortunately means that Juan Smith and Warren Whitely fall out of the squad for the tour. Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he enjoyed working with pair of loose forwards in the past two weeks.

“Warren and Juan know exactly where they stand and it was great to work with them, even if it was only for a limited period of time,” said Meyer.

Depending on Alberts’s condition, Smith is still on standby should the Sharks flank not be cleared to play.

Another casualty, although through injury, is prop Frans Malherbe who fractured his ankle on the weekend. He is unlikely to play again this season and Marcel van der Merwe has been called up to the Bok squad as a replacement.

“Losing Frans is a huge setback and my heart bleeds for him, because he’s done well since returning from a long injury lay-off recently which saw him miss the June Tests.

“But Marcel has been with us before and will slot in seamlessly. He provides specialist tighthead cover as Tendai Mtawarira, Gurthrö Steenkamp and Trevor Nyakane are specialist looseheads,” Meyer said.

The Bok coach is looking forward to having “The Bone Collector” and Matfield back in the side.

“Victor is over his injury and has been declared fit to travel with us for the next two Tests, while we’re awaiting a final verdict on Willem,” he said.

“It will be good to have them back. Willem has been part of the squad for the last number of seasons and Victor showed he can still add a lot of value when he returned to the Bok fold earlier this year,” Meyer added.

The Springboks have a big two weeks ahead starting with their Test against Australia on September 6 and then a date with the All Blacks on September 13.


Forwards: Willem Alberts, Bakkies Botha, Schalk Brits, Marcell Coetzee, Lodewyk de Jager, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Francois Louw, Victor Matfield, Teboho Mohoje, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Gurthrö Steenkamp, Adriaan Strauss, Marcel van der Merwe, Duane Vermeulen.

Backs: Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Cornal Hendricks, Francois Hougaard, Patrick Lambie, Willie le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Handré Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Jan Serfontein, Morné Steyn.

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