Kirchner may let in Lambie

2012-10-02 00:00

FRANS Steyn, the Sharks and Springbok centre, is to undergo ankle surgery tomorrow and will play no more rugby this year.

Steyn damaged his ankle at training early last week and missed the weekend Rugby Championship Test against the Wallabies at Loftus with Jaco Taute taking his place in the midfield.

Craig Roberts, the Springbok team doctor, said last night that the injury was serious and surgery was required in the interests of Steyn’s future career.

The 25-year-old will miss Saturday’s final Rugby Championship international against the All Blacks in Soweto and the Springboks’ November tour to the United Kingdom.

His injury is also a blow for the Sharks who were expecting him to return for the final weeks of the Currie Cup competition.

“We’ve been doing a number of scans and seeing specialists and there a few loose bodies in the joint. We need to get in there and clean it out properly,” said Roberts. “He will be out for three months.

“Frans is a youngster and we will get him into good shape before the 2013 season. He will enjoy a full pre-season programme.”

An injury to Springbok fullback Zane Kirchner could finally open the door to Pat Lambie. Kirchner, in attempting to score in the corner, damaged his hip when tackled by Wallaby centre Adam Ashley-Cooper. The Wallaby was knocked cold in the collision and he has since returned to Australia while his team-mates have flown on to Argentina.

Kirchner missed the Springbok training session yesterday and Roberts said they would make a decision on his fitness tomorrow.

Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen is another who will miss Saturday’s Test at Soccer City. Oosthuizen recently returned to action following a neck injury and was initially named on the bench for the Loftus Test before withdrawing. Oosthuizen will consult a specialist in Durban today.

“I’ve not been completely happy with his neck, “ said Roberts.

“We need to make the right decision for his career. Coenie is a young player and potentially he has a long career ahead of him and we can’t put him at risk in any way.”

Flyhalf Johan Goosen, who is being troubled by an ankle injury, did not train yesterday but Roberts said he was being rested as a precautionary measure.

“Johan was comfortable running and it was just a problem when he planted his foot for kicking,” Roberts said.

Prop Jannie du Plessis and flank Willem Alberts are also nursing ailments but Roberts expects them to be ready for Saturday’s Test.

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer said last night that he wanted to field an unchanged starting line-up against the All Blacks. If Kirchner fails to recover, then Lambie will take over at fullback.

Bulls flank Jacques Potgieter (abdominal strain), one of eight members of the squad not involved at Loftus, has also been ruled out.

Another Blue Bulls loose forward Arno Botha and Golden Lions back Lionel Mapoe have been called up to join the squad. The Sharks coaching staff will be delighted that it was the Bulls’ Botha rather than their in-form and influential Keegan Daniel who has been called up and will spend Saturday watching the Test from the grandstand.

Meyer said last night that his team’s improved performance against the Wallabies was because players were starting to execute the game plan.

“They are starting to understand the game plan, what we want from them and how we want them to play.

“We got a huge amount of confidence after the first New Zealand game, and confidence is contagious. It is a process.”

Meyer said it was important psychologically to beat the All Blacks on Saturday.

“We want to improve and prove that we can beat them,” he said.

“We have to beat them to be able to believe that we can beat them consistently, especially going forward to the next World Cup.”

Saturday’s Test kicks off at 5 pm, and Irishman Alain Rolland, who handled the weekend Test at Loftus, will again be the referee.

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