Boks won't risk Etzebeth

Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is not prepared to gamble with the career of Eben Etzebeth so it's unlikely he'll feature in the June internationals.

Etzebeth, 22, is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained on the Boks' end-of-year tour to Europe last season.

Meyer, in an interview with Die Burger's website, said they are not prepared to gamble with Etzebeth's career by rushing him back too early. He said Etzebeth is a player who must play 100 Tests for South Africa and playing him too soon could be catastrophic.

Meyer would have liked to play Etzebeth alongside Pieter-Steph du Toit for the first few Tests of the year, but a long-term knee injury to Du Toit has put paid to those hopes.

Meyer said it's sad not to have a player of Du Toit's calibre to call on but the coach nevertheless believes he and Etzebeth will form a world class lock combination in future.

With Etzebeth and Du Toit sidelined, the return of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield seems all the more likely.

Flip van der Merwe, Lood de Jager and Stephan Lewies are the other locks currently at the Bok camp in Durban.

The final Springbok squad will be named on Saturday night ahead of the Boks' first game of the year against the World XV at Newlands on June 7.

This game will be followed by two Tests against Wales (Durban, June 14 and Nelspruit, June 21) and one against Scotland (Port Elizabeth, June 28).
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