Scrumhalf conundrum likely for Coetzee

Rudy Paige (Gallo Images)
Rudy Paige (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - There is no official word yet, but it looks almost certain that the Springboks will be without scrumhalf Rudy Paige for this Saturday's Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Durban. 

In his first ever start for the Boks, Paige left the field in the second half of Saturday's 18-10 win over the Wallabies in Pretoria after receiving a nasty knee to the head. 

Paige wobbled down the tunnel as the Boks held on for a crucial win, and he seems the likeliest of the Boks' four injury concerns (Pieter-Steph du Toit, Bryan Habana and Jesse Kriel) to miss out at Kings Park. 

While the Boks struggled to look inspiring at all on attack, Paige was busy as he moved quickly at the base of the rucks - something which had not happened consistently under Faf de Klerk. 

That, combined with a brave defensive effort from Paige, made him impressive. 

If the Bulls No 9 is indeed ruled out for this weekend, Coetzee will have to decide between De Klerk and Francois Hougaard at scrumhalf. 

Hougaard has been used on the wing by Coetzee in recent weeks, but he reminded that he still has a lot to offer at scrumhalf when he filled in for Paige for the last 20-odd minutes on Saturday.

De Klerk, so good in Super Rugby this year, has struggled in the Rugby Championship. 

If Coetzee does decide to move Hougaard to scrumhalf, he must then find a replacement at wing. 

Presuming that Habana is fir for the All Blacks, the Bok coach is still short on options. 

Lwazi Mvovo was in hospital last week having an emergency appendix operation and will not be able to play. 

Kriel is another option at wing, but that could depend on how he recovers from his hamstring strain this week. 

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