Coetzee hints at all-SA based side to face France

Allister Coetzee
Allister Coetzee

Cape Town - The Springboks could field an all South African-based side in the first Test against France at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

With an injury ruling out loose forward Duane Vermeulen and scrumhalf Francois Hougaard only joining the team on Monday from Worcester Warriors in England, Coetzee said he might in all likelihood select a local-based starting line-up against the powerful French.

Toulon's Vermeulen suffered a shoulder injury in the French Top 14 final on Sunday, while Hougaard's arrival just a week prior to the Test match is also not ideal.

Centres Lionel Mapoe and Damian de Allende have also been ruled out of the first Test. Mapoe is in the final stages of recovery from a hamstring injury, while De Allende is still recovering from the quad contusion he sustained while playing for the Stormers in the last round of Super Rugby action.

Vermeulen's injury is a particularly big blow for the Boks, according to Coetzee.

“Duane will still join us on Tuesday and our team doctor will then assess him further, while he may also see a specialist to determine the severity of the injury,” said Coetzee.

“He is a world-class player and his injury is a blow not only because of his experience, but also because of his knowledge of playing with the French players. Having said that, our training has been good and I am happy with the progress and the attitude of the players at our camps," said Coetzee.

Kick-off for Saturday's clash at Loftus Versfeld is scheduled for 17:00.

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