Cape Town - The Stormers are not to blame for Duane Vermeulen spending over a month with a neck injury before it was decided on Monday that he requires surgery.
That is the view of Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts, who has backed the decisions taken by the South African Super Rugby conference champions in their management of Vermeulen's injury.
The injury was first reported on June 5, and the prime concern then was Vermeulen's availability for the Stormers in their Super Rugby playoff campaign. But now the situation is far worse, and his participation for this September's Rugby World Cup is hanging in the balance.
But Roberts, who says the realistic goal is to have Vermeulen back in 10 weeks, says the Stormers didn't put a foot wrong.
"I don’t think so, to be honest. They communicated really well with us," Roberts said.
"I think it was fair to give Duane the chance for that to respond conservatively. You don’t want to just go in and do surgery willy-nilly. I think their approach was perfect in terms of waiting and hoping that it would resolve.
"He did see a number of specialists and the advice was to sit and wait. It’s always nice in retrospect and you’ll say ‘well, it didn’t work’, but we didn’t know that it wasn’t going to work so you’ve got to give him the opportunity to settle down on its own which unfortunately it didn’t.
"Effectively it’s failed conservative treatment and then we look at what plan B is, and plan B is surgery. So they actually managed him perfectly."
The Springboks will take on the World XV at Newlands on Saturday. Kick-off is at 17:00.