Steyn or Aplon expected to take over at fullback for All Black clash

2010-08-12 00:00

THE Springboks will field a new fullback in their Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks in Soweto on August 21.

The Blue Bulls’ Zane Kirchner has been at fullback in the three Tri-Nations Tests in New Zealand and Australia, but yesterday he and provincial team-mate, loose forward Dewald Potgieter, were released for Currie Cup rugby this weekend.

Two Sharks, prop Beast Mtawarira and hooker Bismarck du Plessis, have also been released and they will be on the bench for the Currie Cup match against the Leopards tomorrow night.

It is expected that either Frans Steyn, if he is match fit, or Gio Aplon will be at fullback against the All Blacks.

The overseas-based Steyn, a surprise inclusion in the Bok squad after falling out with coach Peter de Villiers, was injured in a pre-season friendly in Paris last Friday.

Clarity on the extent of the injury is expected today when the Springbok medical staff receive a medical report from Steyn’s French club, Racing Metro.

Steyn, who was included in the Springbok training group of 29 announced on Sunday, underwent a scan in Paris on Tuesday after picking up his injury last Friday.

Steyn has not played since the Test against Wales in June and, if he is passed fit, he will still have to convince the coaching staff that he is ready for international rugby.

The return of wing JP Pietersen would also allow Aplon to be moved to fullback if De Villiers opts against rushing back Steyn.

The Bok squad will be reduced from 29 to 24 tomorrow when the training camp ends.

Both Kirchner and Potgieter have been included in the Bulls side to meet Western Province on Saturday, while the Cape Town team have selected flank Francois Louw for the game.

This suggests that the Boks will return to the tried and tested loose trio of Pierre Spies, fit-again Juan Smith and Schalk Burger with Louw, the only real “fetcher” in the squad, released to Province.

This would leave Ryan Kankowski to provide cover off the bench. The Sharks number eight was kept out of the weekend game against the Lions in Durban because of a calf strain and his fitness is in doubt.

De Villiers has highlighted the Boks’ shaky tackling as a problem area and called on the Stormers and WP defence coach Jacques Nienaber for help. The Stormers had the most effective defence system in the Super 14 this year and Nienaber should bring some organisation to the Boks’ structures.

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