The price of success

2014-11-18 00:00

THE Springboks’ 31-28 win over England didn’t come without a price on Saturday, as tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis looks doubtful for the upcoming weekend and the rest of the tour.

The burly Bok prop got caught awkwardly at a ruck and hyper-extended his knee, according to team doctor Craig Roberts. The injury also led to him overstretching his hamstring.

Du Plessis’s fitness will be confirmed after scans due to have been done late yesterday. Lions prop Ruan Dreyer has been called up as a replacement.

Another possible injury concern is Willie le Roux who took a bump on his cheek on Saturday.

The knock came after flyhalf Pat Lambie chipped the ball over the English defence, which was gathered by Le Roux before he offloaded to scrumhalf Cobus Reinach to score his first Test try.

“Willie took the knock when he offloaded before we scored that try. Initially it didn’t look too bad, but overnight he got quite a bit of swelling,” said Roberts.

Le Roux was set to get x-rays alongside Du Plessis last night.

The irony of Le Roux’s injury was it came from the Boks’ best piece of attacking play on Saturday. Springbok backline coach Ricardo Loubscher believes the try came from individual ability and good understanding between the players.

“It was just pure brilliance from Pat. We spoke during the week about identifying space and mismatches and I thought Cobus’s support on the inside was at the right time and place. We’re quite happy for him; his first start and first try — not too bad,” Loubscher said.

Although Le Roux was injured in the play, Loubscher highlighted the fullback’s ability to react to what was in front of him.

“I think it’s pure instinct. As you know, Willie will always look for opportunities on attack and I thought his timing was right. We spoke about taking opportunities and I think that’s one we really had to finish — and we did it well,” the coach said.

If worse comes to worst and Le Roux is to sit on the side lines this weekend, it opens the door for a Bok return by Johan Goo­sen, who has been training at fullback with the squad after playing a number of games at the back for French club Racing Metro.

“From what I’ve seen in the last few weeks, he’s been good. He has put in the hard yards and is looking committed in training,” Loubscher said.

Lambie is another option, despite a solid performance at flyhalf against England.

“Last year on tour, Pat played fullback against Wales and was really solid for us there. We had this discussion in the past. Pat is a versatile and world-class player. He can slot in anywhere. In training, he is looking good and that showed on Saturday,” Loubscher said.

The Boks face Italy this weekend in Padova before their final Test of the tour next week against Wales.

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