British & Irish Lions

Covid blow for Bok duo ahead of Georgia Test: 'They were definitely in the mix for selection'

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Sbu Nkosi during a Test match between South Africa and Argentina
Sbu Nkosi during a Test match between South Africa and Argentina
(Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images)
  • World Cup-winning Springbok duo Sbu Nkosi and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, who tested positive for Covid, were definitely in contention to play against Georgia on Friday.
  • The third squad member that tested positive for coronavirus, Vincent Koch, was an outside shout as he'd only arrived in camp on Saturday.
  • On Monday, signs were that the Covid situation could get worse after SA Rugby cancelled its media engagements on the day.

World Cup-winning Springbok duo Sbu Nkosi and scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, who tested positive for Covid at the weekend, were definitely in contention to play against Georgia on Friday.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber confirmed to media on Sunday that the pair was in their plans to feature in the match 23 in the first of two Tests against Georgia.

READ | Professional sports get government approval with Lions set for SA tour

The third squad member that tested positive for coronavirus, Vincent Koch, was an outside shout as he'd only arrived in camp on Saturday while the former two trained with the group since they assembled in Bloemfontein three weeks ago.

"Sbu and Herschel were part of our training camp in Bloemfontein and worked with us for a bit, so they were definitely in the mix for team selection," Nienaber said on Sunday.

"Vincent, on the other hand, only arrived yesterday (Saturday) into camp. It wasn't that he was not up for selection, but he hadn't worked with us for a while.

"He might have been [in contention] a week later. If they were all medically fit and fit to play, all three were up for selection.

"But the other two (Nkosi and Jantjies) definitely worked with us a little bit more, and Vince wouldn't have been part of our systems for quite some while."

It means Nkosi, who is in a tough battle for the No 14 jersey with Toulouse magician Cheslin Kolbe, could lose further ground up the wing pecking order for the British and Irish Lions tour.

However, the Springboks have adequate cover in the back three after calling up Nkosi's Sharks team-mates Yaw Penxe and Aphelele Fassi.

Jantjies, who deputised for Faf de Klerk at the 2019 World Cup in Japan, has yet to hit the heights that saw him shoot from nowhere to Springbok prominence in less than a year.

Montpellier's Cobus Reinach and Sharks youngster Sanele Nohamba are the other halfbacks who will be considered for the clash with Georgia at Loftus (19:00 kick-off).

Meanwhile, Nienaber said it wasn't ideal to have their Sunday training session cancelled following the mini-outbreak.

READ | Springboks' positive Covid-19 cases unlikely to affect Lions tour: 'It's an isolated case'

On Monday, signs were that the situation could get worse after SA Rugby cancelled its media engagements on the day, with the likelihood of the same happening to their morning training session at St Stithians College in Johannesburg.

The team and staff members are currently awaiting next steps orders from their Lions Series medical advisory group.

"It's not ideal. We would have loved to just go on as normal and do our normal training today (Sunday) and have the week flow as planned," said Nienaber.

"But the important thing with Covid and with how the environment keeps changing, it's key to be adaptable, and you have to make plans on the run. That's what we're doing.

"It happened; it is what it is. We want to stay safe and keep our team as safe as possible and the Lions as safe as possible."

Springbok squad:

Forwards

Thomas du Toit, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Joseph Dweba, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Scarra Ntubeni, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, RG Snyman, Dan du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Siya Kolisi, Kwagga Smith, Marco van Staden, Duane Vermeulen, Jasper Wiese

Backs

Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Sanele Nohamba, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Morne Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Wandisile Simelane, Frans Steyn, Aphelele Fassi, Cheslin Kolbe, Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Yaw Penxe, Rosko Specman, Damian Willemse

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
loading... Live
Chiefs 33
Western Force 7
Voting Booth
Would you be keen to see the Springboks join the Six Nations?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes! The Northern Hemisphere is the future.
52% - 2392 votes
No! The Rugby Championship is still the pinnacle.
48% - 2198 votes
Vote