Blow to Boks as injury rules out Andries Bekker

2011-07-23 00:00

THE Springboks suffered a major setback ahead of the Rugby World Cup, with towering Stormers lock Andries Bekker yesterday ruled out of the tournament following an ankle injury.

The 2,08-metre Bekker, an obvious back-up to veteran Victor Matfield, will undergo ankle surgery on Tuesday and will be out for the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old lineout specialist was one of the 23 players rested for the Tri-Nations tour and was considered a certainty for the RWC in New Zealand.

“We have sought a number of expert opinions over the past two weeks and the decision was taken that Andries required surgery now to safeguard his long-term rugby career,” Craig Roberts, the Springbok team doctor, said yesterday.

“He ruptured an ankle tendon during the Super Rugby season.”

Meanwhile, former Sharks captain and lock Johann Muller will return to South Africa tomorrow after his hamstring strain failed to respond to treatment.

Muller travelled to Australia with the Springboks last week in spite of a pulled hamstring. He was initially included in the starting line-up for today’s Test in Sydney, but was then withdrawn on Wednesday and replaced by Sharks second-rower Alistair Hargreaves.

A replacement for Muller will be flown to New Zealand next week ahead of the Test against the All Blacks in Wellington.

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