Bok starting role for Jaco Kriel?

Jaco Kriel (Gallo Images)
Jaco Kriel (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says there could be a shake-up among the loose-forwards after injuries to Duane Vermeulen and Warren Whiteley.

Vermeulen has been ruled out with an elbow injury, while Warren Whiteley has been dealing with a knock to the shoulder.

The injuries took place in the Springboks' 32-26 comeback victory over Ireland in Johannesburg last Saturday.

With Vermeulen out and doubt over Whiteley for this weekend’s final Test in Port Elizabeth, it could leave the Springbok coaching staff without any specialist number eights. The former Stormers mentor said Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who was exceptional for the SA 'A' side, and Lions star Jaco Kriel could then be added to this weekend's match 23. Both players are yet to be capped at Test level.

Coetzee added that if Whiteley cannot play over the weekend, Notshe would likely start off the bench while the Kriel would start at No 6 accompanied by Siya Kolisi or Francois Louw filling in the rest of the loose forward positions.

"If Duane and Warren are not available, Notshe and Jaco will be considered to fill the gaps," Coetzee said earlier on Monday.

"Jaco has X-factor and has to be tested at this level. That’s why he’s here. Should he get the opportunity, I’m confident he will be up for it. Notshe has played No 8 before.

Whiteley took a blow to the AC joint last Saturday and although he participated in Monday’s training drills, he did not take any contact. Good news however was that scans revealed no significant damage to the shoulder area.

A call on the Lions skipper's availability will be made later in the week.

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