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Jannie du Plessis

Jannie du Plessis

Francois Louw

Francois Louw

The Springboks will be without tighthead prop Jannie du Plessis and flanker Francois Louw when they face Argentina’s Los Pumas in Durban next Saturday, but the Springboks could have Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back while at this stage their medical team is optimistic of delivering a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup, it was announced on Tuesday.

De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are 3 of 7 players whose fitness will be assessed on Monday as they complete the final phase of rehabilitation while players such as Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen are progressing well with their rehabilitation.

Although Du Plessis (knee) and Louw (rotator cuff), along with Victor Matfield and JP Pietersen (both hamstring injuries) will miss the Tests against the Pumas, none of these injuries will put their Rugby World Cup participation at risk. Saturday’s other injury victims, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley (rib cartilages) should be fit and available for selection next weekend.

Jan Serfontein (hip and knee), Marcell Coetzee (knee), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Steven Kitshoff (knee) will also be assessed on Monday with a view to being available to selection against the Pumas.

Frans Steyn is recovering well from a pectoral muscle injury and could be ready to play Los Pumas in Buenos Aires. Frans Malherbe has a bone bruise in the hip, which he picked up in the Brisbane Test. He will consult a specialist in Cape Town and will also be re-assessed next week in Durban.

“All of these players have worked hard during their rehabilitation and although we still have to put them through a final assessment on Monday after we’ve re-assembled in Durban, I’m hopeful that they should be fit to face Argentina in at least 1 of the 2 forthcoming Tests,” said Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts.

“We’re continuing to work very hard with Duane Vermeulen and Coenie Oosthuizen and at this stage it’s looking very likely that we will have a full complement of players available for selection when the final squad for the Rugby World Cup is named at the end of August.”

Meyer said that the national selectors may have to consider possible cover at tighthead prop if Koch and Malherbe are both ruled out of the Tests against Argentina.

“We’ll have a look at Vincent and Frans in Durban and if they are not fit, we may have to bring someone in,” said Meyer.

“It’s wonderful to see a number of players returning from injury and all of them will be considered if they are passed fit by our medical team.

“I’m also very glad Pieter-Steph is back. He was in the selection frame last week but after consultation between our medical team and that of the Cell C Sharks, we decided to stick to the original plan regarding his return to play, which is that he will turn out for his province in an ABSA Currie Cup warm-up match on Friday.

“While it’s never ideal to lose experienced players to injury, it provides others with opportunities. We wanted to mix things up a bit in the 2 Tests against Argentina and the next players in line will now have to show they can perform at the highest level before we finalise the Rugby World Cup squad.”

Francois Louw, Springbok flanker, who left the field with a popped shoulder, arrived at captain Jean de Villiers’ tribute dinner on Monday night with his arm in a sling, but at least smiling as the medical prognosis was fairly good.

“It’s a small tear, nothing too serious,” Louw said, “Hopefully I should be back sooner than later.”

The bad part of the news is that Louw isn’t likely to play in either of the 2 games against Los Pumas in the next fortnight.

The medical diagnosis is that he needs at least a 3-week layoff to repair the shoulder, which he injured against the All Blacks.

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers may still have a bit to go before he is back to his best, but he is making great leaps.

De Villiers, who played a full 80 minutes for Western Province in the 21 / 18 win over the EP Kings at the weekend, looks set to make his 1st Test appearance in more than 8 months when South Africa play Argentina in Durban on 8 August.

This follows his knee reconstruction surgery in the wake of the horrific injury against Wales in Cardiff last November.

De Villiers, after his 20-minute cameo in a non-cap international against the World XV at Newlands earlier this month, continued his comeback with 2 appearances for DHL Western Province in Currie Cup pre-season friendlies.

After playing 60 minutes against the Steval Pumas, he got an invaluable 80-minute run in the nailbiting win over the EP Kings this past weekend.

WP coach John Dobson said that De Villiers, by his own admission, still has “a bit to go” before being back to his best.

“To be brutally honest, if you looked at that game, you wouldn’t say he is a world class centre,” Dobson told a media briefing in Cape Town on Monday.

“However, every week the progression is such that next week he could be there.

“From where he was against the World XV, the World XV to the Pumas and the Pumas to this, was a great leap every time.

“What isn’t in doubt is his appetite, his energy and his bravery.”

Dobson also revealed that in his drive to get back to his best form, De Villiers insisted on playing the full 80 minutes against the EP Kings.

“He said he would play flank if he had to,” the WP mentor said, adding: “So he went to wing at about the 60-minute mark.

“What he was really chuffed about was that he could accelerate – he is definitely sharper this week.”

Dobson confirmed that De Villiers has left DHL Western Province to rejoin the Springboks – ahead of the final Round in The Rugby Championship.

“The plan was always that he would play against Argentina,” Dobson said, adding: “I presume he is in the frame for that.”

8 Responses to The Rugby Championship: Springboks – Provisional Fitness Report… Flo & Doc Jannie out but some stalwarts due back

  • 1

    RIP Ricey, cricketing Rambo

    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
    Cape Town – That bloody red and white Avis cap … off the field, it seemed to follow him everywhere. He could never seem to take the damned thing off.

    Perhaps it was because he went prematurely, notably bald on top, although you can’t imagine Clive Edward Butler Rice ever being remotely hung up about that … or anything else, especially if it involved cricket.

    Rather, he was one of those defiantly pioneering, sponsored “professionals” before his time, whilst South African cricket remained predominantly, naively amateur in character, divided and firmly isolated from the rest of the world.

    He would have learnt a trick or two in that regard – a bit like Barry Richards, another not-hugely-establishment character did – by experiencing many years of county cricket in the South African off-season (as well as boasting involvement in the Kerry Packer revolution that shook the game to its foundations).

    Those were halcyon days of the English domestic game, because it was teeming with the very finest cricketers from around the planet, international schedules not being nearly as prolific as they are nowadays.

    So it was really for Nottinghamshire that Ricey’s true pedigree came most fittingly to light, given that he was one of many magnificent South African players of the period, from various backgrounds, starved of Test and ODI activity for the huge bulk of their careers.

    His alliance with another luminary all-rounder, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee, became the stuff of legend at Trent Bridge, and it was entirely appropriate that in both players’ swansong season there in 1987, Notts won both the Championship and NatWest Trophy for what is probably still their finest campaign on record.

    But it was back home, of course, that Johannesburg-born Rice – the consummate Transvaler, if you like – spearheaded, in leadership and so much more, a ruthless reign of his province’s “Mean Machine” in the late 1970s and most of the 80s.

    Rice was already an established kingpin of the team when he succeeded David Dyer as captain, and he simply took budding, habitual conquest to a different level as Transvaal bossed the old Currie Cup, Datsun Shield and fledgling days of the Benson & Hedges night series to a near-outrageous degree.

    Who could ever forget that top six batting line-up: Cook, Fotheringham, Kallicharran, Pollock, Rice, McKenzie? Or the attack: Clarke, Radford, Rice, Kourie, Page?

    Somewhere in there also, of course, was squeezed the rubber-man of wicketkeeping, Ray Jennings, although Rice was the sublime balancer of the XI with the multi-skilled personal package he offered it.

    If hefty West Indian “Sly” Clarke was the pace provocateur-in-chief with his throat-following bouncer, Rice was seldom far behind for pure hostility as he did a pretty mean bumper too, when not crushing toes with an on-the-money yorker.

    The great thing about Ricey, a promoter’s dream, was his ability to taunt the opposition – he took a special fancy to baiting traditional southern rivals Western Province – in the press in the match lead-up, and then almost unfailingly back up his gung-ho words with damaging, game-tilting actions.

    The bouncy track of the Wanderers, naturally, was so often his most desirable playground, yet I used to eagerly look forward to joining a small (about three, then) posse of newspaper scribes in his hotel room at the Newlands Holiday Inn soon after Transvaal had climbed off their flight for the New Year Currie Cup “Test”.

    He would speak the hind leg off the donkey in suggesting exactly where he felt Province would be frail.

    And then, voila, they so often would be.

    It was easy to tell that he loved the stick he got from the Capetonian faithful at times, as it only tended to spur him – and by extension the troops who rallied hungrily behind him – to greater heights in dominance.

    Every now and then, good-naturedly booed from the Willows and Railway Stand enclosures even as he innocuously fielded a slow-moving ball at mid-off, he would play memorably to the gallery, pointing to the scoreboard and then making a “shhhh” sign over his lips with his index finger.

    Behind that expansive moustache frequently lay an on-field scowl – sometimes mock, sometimes grimly serious in the heat of combat – but Ricey could see the funny side of a good chirp, too.

    Once, when he’d uncharacteristically gone 0/80 on the Newlands featherbed after sharing the new ball duty in that match, the man with ice in his veins could not contain a facial crumple when a wag piped up: “Hey Rice … I thought you was (sic) a shock bowler. Ja, you are sure bowling shocking today.”

    At the height of his powers, Rice was responsible for perhaps the seminal moment in Currie Cup cricket history when, in the advanced shadows of the final day of the 1976/77 New Year clash there, he bowled then-rookie WP wicketkeeper Rob Drummond with the last ball of a pulsating contest, for which the SABC delayed the 19:00 English radio news to accommodate live commentary until 19:03.

    Under that marvellous gambler Eddie Barlow, WP had elected to thrillingly hunt down a seemingly impossible target of 252 in precious little time to win, and the great irony was that come that delivery, they’d finally decided to shut up shop for the intended, honourable draw at 247 for nine after a mighty go at the requirement.

    It was understandably felt that it was asking too much for UCT novice Drummond to smash Rice — already a highly revered bowling “finisher” — for six, so the medical student played a textbook forward defensive stroke … only for the wily ‘Vaal scrapper to get one through the gate and rattle his timber for an immortal away win.

    That was the kind of ceaseless, enduring, unflappable competitor Rice was.

    He never lost his dogged business instinct, either: for several years after I’d converted from specialist cricket writing to a more general sports role, he would ring occasionally to try to flog me fax-to-email solutions, talking them up as though shrewdly raising passions and bolstering ticket sales before another of those north v south scraps.

    He needed every bit of his combative spirit to ward off the ravages of illness in recent years, confessing in interviews ahead of his passing at 66 that many of the procedures he underwent in a gallant bid to prolong his life were painful.

    For Clive Rice to say that, I can only imagine they must have been utterly excruciating.

    So long Ricey; it’s time for that cap to go over your eyes.

  • 2

    Groot asemblief HM, laat Vic en JDV saamgaan om al die praatjies, media konferensies, opvoerings, toertjies en sommer net al die … praat te doen, terwyl die span die WB wen !

    Hier is my groep, as almal se krukke en rolstoele weggegooi word, en hul op vorm is,

    15) F Steyn, Le Roux
    14) Hougaard, JPP
    13) Kriel, JDV
    12) Ellendige, Jan
    11) Habana, Mapoe
    10) Pollard, Lambie, Morne
    9) FDP, Ruan

    8) Duane
    7) Burger, Alberts
    6) Marcel, Louw of Brussow
    5) Lood, Vic
    4) Eben, PSDT
    3) Jannie, Koch
    2) Bismark, Strauss, Brits
    1) Beast, Trevor of Coenie

    Hoe lyk my span ?

    Die name eerste genoem is my opdraf span, met die volgende bench,

    16) Trevor
    17) Strauss
    18) Koch
    19) Vic of PSDT
    20) Burger
    21) Lambie
    22) JDV
    23) Le Roux

    Hougaard dek skrummie
    HM sal heel waarskynlik met of Vic of JDV begin as kaptein, met Lood of PSDT wat dan groot impak moet maak van die bank, iets wat ons baie kort in die laaste 15 minute.
    As Vic of JDV kaptein is, sal dit dalk goed wees om Burger en Alberts om te ruil.

  • 3

    @ Ben-die-Bul:
    Ek hou van die groep. Sal net n plek moet maak vir Warren . . .

  • 4

    GoBokkeAndIreland wrote:

    @ Ben-die-Bul:
    Ek hou van die groep. Sal net n plek moet maak vir Warren . . .

    Ons moet laat Warren in een van daardie dayglo oranje oorpakke speel wat hulle in die trunk dra

    Dan kan ons hom darem sien op die veld want anders is hy onsigbaar, amper meer onsigbaar as Spies as dit moontlik is

    Hy het nog nie veel in ‘n Springboktrui gedoen nie

    Hou eerder vir Brussow en gee vir Kriel ‘n kans

  • 5

    @ Victoriabok:

    trunk = tronk

  • 6

    @ Victoriabok:
    Hahaha – wel, ek hou van hom as n speeler, en daai groep lyk vir my a bietjie lig op agstemanne. Maar daar is seker n hele paar van die ander losvoorspelers wat 8 kan speel.
    Glad nie n slegte groep nie.

  • 7

    Pieter-Steph du Toit is the most painful & saddest player departure the Sharks have suffered in years … :sad:

    This lad is destined to become a great.

  • 8

    7 @ Angostura:
    Hi Angostura it’s not good when you lose a player but this is just what we have to come to terms with as players move about so much. While I’m not suggesting the quality is anywhere near what you feel you have lost with Pieter-Steph du Toit it seems our loss may be your gain with prop Juan Schoeman who has moved from Pretoria to the Sharks, was reading good things about his performance for you last night against the Lions.


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