The Cheetahs have paid the price for a bruising win against the Griquas on Saturday with Luan de Bruin, Elgar Watts and Johannes “Boom” Prinsloo looking set to miss their clash against the Sharks.
The Free State Stadium turned into a minor battlefield on Saturday with medical teams having to stretcher players off on more than one occasion.
The All Blacks were left feeling “hollow” and “gutted” after their record-equalling test win streak came to a limp end on Saturday night at the Olympic stadium.
To that they might have added relieved at escaping with a draw they scarcely deserved.
Truth be told, the All Blacks were fortunate indeed to slip out of Sydney with a 12-12 stalemate that was flattering to them, after being outplayed in the second half by a Wallabies outfit who just weren’t good enough to close out a victory that was theirs for the taking.
DHL Western Province has been rocked by the loss of hooker Scarra Ntubeni ahead of their first home Absa Currie Cup match of the season against the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday.
Ntubeni was set to replace Tiaan Liebenberg, who is out with a back injury, in the team that beat the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth last week. However, according to coach Allister Coetzee, Ntubeni injured a calf in training and has been forced to withdraw from the team at the 11th hour.
“Unfortunately Scarra picked up a calf injury at training on Tuesday and it has subsequently been confirmed that he will be out for a minimum of 14 days,” said Coetzee.
The Lions have been dealt a huge blow with Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff ruled out of the entire Currie Cup season with a fractured arm.
The Lions, against all injury odds, put on the performance of the opening round when they defeated the Bulls 41-13 in Johannesburg on Saturday.
However, coach Johan Ackermann will have more injury headaches other than Boshoff who is due to undergo surgery on Monday and is expected to be out for 12 weeks.
Both Anthony Volmink (shoulder) and Lloyd Greeff (knee) are also expected to be out of action for the remainder of the Currie Cup tournament.
Blue Bulls loose forward Jacques du Plessis has recovered from his broken jaw and will be available for selection for the remainder of the Currie Cup.
Du Plessis trained on Monday, as a small numbers of players sat out with minor ailments.
Sampie Mastriet (hip contusion) and JJ Engelbrecht (rib contusion) will again train on Tuesday, but prop Dean Greyling will have to pass a fitness test on Thursday is he is to play against Western Province on Saturday in Cape Town.
The Golden Lions’ comprehensive 41-13 defeat of the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday could prove costly after star flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff left the field with an arm injury.
“We are a bit concerned but we don’t want to jump to conclusions before he’s had his scans,” Lions coach Johan Ackermann said after the match.
“Jaco van der Walt (replacement) is a talented player but obviously Marnitz is also a match winner and it will be a big loss if he is out.”
Prop Paddy Ryan and uncapped winger Tom English have been added to the Wallabies Rugby Championship squad, with hamstring injuries set to rule out Laurie Weeks and Joe Tomane for the first two matches against New Zealand.
Both injuries are considered relatively minor, with Weeks and Tomane each expected to be out for two to three weeks.
However, that would be long enough to rule them out of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup games against New Zealand in Sydney next Saturday and in Auckland the following weekend.
Winger Juan Imhoff has injured his foot and will miss Argentina’s first two Rugby Championship matches against South Africa, the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) said on Tuesday.
The Racing Metro player fractured the second metatarsal of his right foot during the Pumas’ warm-up game against French Club Grenoble on Saturday.
Colin Slade has been called into the All Blacks as injury cover for Dan Carter.
Carter fractured the fibula bone in his right leg during last weekend’s Super Rugby final loss to the Waratahs in Sydney and would be sidelined for one month. He would miss at least the first two Bledisloe Cup tests.
The Lions have suffered key injury blows ahead of their opening Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park this weekend.
According to reports, promising front ranker Julian Redelinghuys has injured his calf muscle and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.
To make matters worse, wings Anthony Volmink and Courtnall Skosan and scrumhalf Michael Bondesio were also injured in training last week.
Victor Matfield is suffering from a small tear in a cartilage after being sent for scans on Tuesday morning after feeling some discomfort in his knee at training on Monday.
He was seen by an orthopaedic specialist in Pretoria and will be unavailable for the Test against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday 16 August.
Coenie and Caylib Oosthuizen will not be available for the Cheetahs’ first Currie Cup match against the Pumas on Saturday in Nelspruit.
More scrum worries come in the form of Johannes Roux, who injured his arm against the EP Kings in a a warm match last Friday – he sat out of training on Monday.
It is hoped that Roux will be fit to play on Saturday, with the Free Staters looking thin in the front row.
With both Oosthuizens out and Trevor Nyakane with the Springboks, coach Rory Duncan looks set to blood some youngsters.
The Cell C Sharks will start the defence of the Absa Currie Cup title they won last year feeling the effects of having gone further than all the other teams in the recently completed Vodacom Super Rugby season.
Apart from the fact that they’ve lost more players to the Springboks than most, plus a few players have headed overseas, the Sharks arrived back in Durban after their Super Rugby semifinal loss to the Crusaders with injuries in areas they can ill afford it.
Both locks, Stephan Lewies and Etienne Oosthuizen, have injuries that make them doubtful starters for Saturday’s domestic competition opener against Griquas in Kimberley. Assistant coach Sean Everitt has given the pair’s chances of playing as 50 / 50, with the problem being that there isn’t too much available back-up now that the strong and abrasive Anton Bresler has headed overseas.
All Black flyhalf Dan Carter will be sidelined for at least half of New Zealand’s Rugby Championship campaign after cracking a fibula in last weekend’s Super Rugby Final.
Carter left the field during the Crusaders’ 32-33 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney after an injury to his lower leg, which the franchise said was a hairline crack to the bone which would need at least four weeks to heal.
“A scan has revealed a small crack in his upper fibula. The size of the crack meant it was not originally picked up by an X-ray and required a scan to locate it,” the Crusaders said.
Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie will be sweating over the availability of Waratahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.
The burly, all-action No 2 is the major casualty of the Tahs’ historic Super Rugby crown.
Polota-Nau limped off just after half-time in the Waratahs’ tense 33-32 win over the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Final in Sydney at the weekend.
Tahs coach Michael Cheika suspected the hooker had a medial ligament tear, which could rule him out of the Bledisloe Cup / Rugby Championship opener in a fortnight.
Tony Woodcock could be forgiven for feeling undervalued.
Only in his absence is his importance to the All Blacks genuinely appreciated.
Even in the modern game, loose-head props are as influential as prominent openside flankers or quality first five-eighths.
Recent changes to the scrum laws place immense forces on the No.1′s shoulders. Anyone in this role with poor technique or lack of strength is now, more than ever, brutally exposed.
Over the past 12 years, during 110 tests, Woodcock has been that cornerstone; the rock of the All Blacks’ scrum.
He has played just five games in two seasons, but the ACT Brumbies are keen to start negotiations with injured Wallabies captain David Pocock to keep him in Canberra beyond next year’s World Cup.
The Brumbies are already planning for the future just days after being bundled out of Super Rugby title contention by the Waratahs.
Coach Stephen Larkham revealed his intent to start negotiations with Pocock, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Pat McCabe, whose contracts expire at the end of next season.
Larkham also hopes to have his back-room staff finalised in the next month, including appointing another assistant coach with breakdown expertise to replace director of rugby Laurie Fisher and a team manager.
Winger Henry Speight will be sidelined for a month by a hamstring injury and has been replaced in the Wallabies squad for the Rugby Championship by Peter Betham.
Fijian-born Speight was included in the squad last week despite not becoming eligible to play for Australia on residency grounds until 11 September, halfway through the tournament.
The tackle-busting winger sustained the injury in the second half of the Brumbies’ Super Rugby semifinal defeat to the Waratahs last Saturday.
Injured All Blacks centre Conrad Smith will make his return to the field after recovering from a broken thumb in a rare outing for his provincial side Wellington on Friday.
The 32-year-old injured the thumb during last month’s Test series against England and missed the third match, with rookie Malakai Fekitoa making his first start at centre in the 36-13 victory.
Smith was named in Steve Hansen’s All Blacks squad for the Rugby Championship on Monday, indicating he would be available for the first clash against Australia in Sydney on 16 August.
Springbok and WP lock Eben Etzebeth has returned to full training ahead of the Currie Cup and Rugby Championship.
Etzebeth has not seen a single minute of competitive action in 2014 after first a foot, and later a toe injury, kept him out of the Stormers’ entire Super Rugby campaign.
After a long and arduous process he is finally nearing a return to fitness, but it remains to be seen if Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer opts to draft him into the Bok set-up immediately or allows him to get some game time under his belt with Western Province.
He endured the pain of a broken bone in his foot during the 2011 World Cup but Richie McCaw said that was a doddle compared to playing with a fractured rib.
All Blacks captain McCaw hurt his rib in the second test against England on May June 14 and, thinking it was just bruising, he ignored the discomfort to play the third test a week later.
During that match, however, McCaw knew something was seriously wrong.
“By the end of that third test I was pretty sore. With an injured foot it doesn’t hurt when you go into contact – it is only when you are running.”
French rugby powerbrokers have confirmed no decision will be taken on the Florian Fritz concussion saga until the LNR Executive Committee meets in early September – some four months after the Toulouse centre was led bloodied and reeling from the Stade Ernest Wallon pitch.
In the wake of the incident during the club’s Top 14 barrage against Racing Mètro on May 9, the player’s ill-advised return to the game and the apparent misconduct of head coach Guy Novès are the subject of an investigation from a panel of doctors assembled by the LNR.
Repeated attempts from the IRB – who requested the French bodies launch the investigation – to press both the FFR and LNR for answers proved fruitless until Tuesday (yesterday), when a spokeswoman for the professional league administrators confirmed no action will be taken until after the September meeting.
It appears Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss will make a U-turn and decide not to move from the Cheetahs to the Bulls.
It was reported earlier that Strauss’s move to Pretoria was a done deal, but business interests in Bloemfontein now look likely to keep Strauss at the Cheetahs.
According to reports, the Cheetahs also significantly upped their offer for Strauss and he said that he’ll make a final decision on his future this week.
Reds prop Ben Daley and flyhalf Ben Lucas face lengthy rehabilitation periods after both suffered injuries in their team’s loss to the Waratahs.
Daley dislocated his shoulder in a scrum collapse in the late stages of the game, with scans yesterday revealing damage to his rotator cuff. He will have exploratory surgery next week to determine the full extent of the damage.
Lucas suffered an articular defect in his right knee joint during the opening stages of the match and had surgery today. He will be out of action for eight weeks.
The Super Rugby table topping Waratahs will travel to Suncorp Stadium without their talisman Israel Folau.
The Wallabies try-machine is suffering from a corked thigh and will be replaced by Cam Crawford, who makes his fourth start for the season.
The remainder of the backline is unchanged.
In the pack, Will Skelton has been recalled to the starting lineup at lock ahead of Jacques Potgieter, alongside Kane Douglas, while has held his spot at blindside flanker.
The Blues will be without veteran All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock and captain Luke Braid for their crunch Super Rugby match against the Chiefs at Eden Park on Friday.
Woodcock suffered a shoulder injury during last week’s loss to the Crusaders and with a six day turnaround coach John Kirwan felt he would not be fully fit and it was not worth risking him.
“Woody’s had a great season for us so it’s a big loss. He’s been quite outstanding really and one of our best players since he’s been back,” Kirwan said.
Tiaan Liebenberg will start at hooker for the Stormers at Newlands this Saturday in the absence of injured incumbent Deon Fourie.
Fourie sustained a hamstring injury in last week’s win against the Bulls. He has been ruled out of the Stormers’ last league match against the Sharks, which is also the Cape side’s last of the season.
Coach Allister Coetzee has made no further changes to the starting XV. A victory against the Sharks this Saturday would allow the Stormers to finish the season with eight wins, and two against the South African conference champions.
Any hopes of a dramatic return for Heinrich Brüssow have been squashed, meaning the Cheetahs will retain their winning formula for the last match of the season.
The men from Bloemfontein head to Johannesburg on Saturday to take on the resurgent Lions – a team looking to end their season with a three-match winning streak.
However, the Cheetahs will be without star the Springbok flank, Brüssow, who also missed last weekend’s 27-20 win over the Sharks due a groin injury.
“Heins will undergo groin surgery and will not play,” Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said, ahead of his team’s trip to Ellis Park.
Cell C Sharks director of rugby Jake White will know later on Tuesday whether he will have the services of the injured trio of Tendai Mtawarira, Patrick Lambie and Paul Jordaan for Saturday’s all important final Vodacom Super Rugby league match against the DHL Stormers at Newlands.
All three players are heading back from injury and are said to now be recovered and rehabilitated, White just has to find out whether they are ready yet to take the field in a big match like the clash with the Stormers is shaping up to be. The status of flyhalf Lambie in particular will be eagerly awaited by not only White but also fans of the Durban franchise, for pivot has been problematic for the Sharks since the Springbok was injured playing against the Bulls in Pretoria in March.
As it is, Lambie has made an excellent recovery, as the initial prognosis was that his torn bicep would keep him out of the rest of the Super Rugby season. However, regardless of whether he is ready for the Newlands clash, it appears he may be ready to play a part in the knock-out games that follow.
Highlanders and All Blacks fullback Ben Smith remains in a Sydney hospital while recovering from a leg infection.
A statement released by the team on Tuesdays said they believed the infection was caused by a “supercicial graze” sustained by the player in Sunday’s loss to the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium.
Highlanders doctor Greg Macleod has remained in Sydney with Smith and says he is responding well to treatment.
Melbourne Rebels outside back Tom Kingston has been ruled out of his team’s final regular Super Rugby season match against the Bulls in Pretoria afetr succumbing to an ongoing chronic knee injury.
Kingston, who has flown home from South Africa and has been battling Patella Tendinopathy throughout the duration of the season, started on the wing against the Lions on the weekend however will now head back to Melbourne to undergo further assessment before the Club are able to decide what course of action to take to repair his knee.
Young flyhalf Bryce Hegarty remains in South Africa undergoing further assessment to a shoulder injury sustained against the Lions, and remains in doubt for the season-ending clash against the Bulls.
Scott Higginbotham meanwhile was suspended for a week after receiving his 3rd Yellow Card of the season.
Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby will miss his team’s final match of the 2014 Super Rugby season against the Waratahs after he suffered a broken jaw in his team’s loss to the Force.
Frisby will be out for six weeks after copping a knock to the jaw early in the second half during Saturday’s game in Perth.
Initial hopes were that he would be able to take the field this weekend, but scans late Monday revealed the fracture, which will require surgery.
Reds head coach Richard Graham said, “It is disappointing to lose Pickle (Nick Frisby).
“He has played some good rugby for us recently and it would have been beneficial to continue his partnership with Benny Lucas this weekend. Following surgery tonight he’ll be out for at approximately six weeks.”
Frisby’s injury adds to a long list of squad members currently unavailable for selection, along with Quade Cooper (shoulder/hip), Blake Enever (bicep), Anthony Fainga’a (calf), Chris Feauai-Sautia (shoulder), Will Genia (ankle), Liam Gill (Australian Sevens duties), Eddie Quirk (knee), Dom Shipperley (ankle) and Aidan Toua (pectoral).
With just four weeks left before the Currie Cup starts, Carlos Spencer has announced an expanded team of 26 players to tackle the SWD Eagles in George on Friday evening.
Spencer, who has yet to decide on the captaincy of the squad following Luke Watson’s absence due to a slight rib injury, has made eight changes to his starting line-up in comparison to the game against the Sharks XV last week.
Up front Edgar Marutlulle will start at hooker in place of Albé de Swardt, who moves to the bench. Lizo Gqoboka and Charl du Plessis stay on at loosehead and tighthead respectively.
David Bullbring and Steven Cummins swap places, but stay in the starting line-up. Paul Schoeman comes in at No 6 in place of Thembelani Bholi, and will be accompanied at flank by Stefan Willemse in place of Devin Oosthuizen.
Aidon Davis will start at No 8, in place of Watson, who left the field after 20 minutes against the Sharks XV at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last week with a rib injury.
DHL Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has conceded that there is an outside chance that his team may be without kingpin No 8 Duane Vermeulen in Saturday’s Vodacom Super Rugby derby against the Vodacom Bulls at Newlands.
Vermeulen normally sits out Monday training session as part of Coetzee’s way of managing the hard working Springbok, who has played every game he has been available for at both Super Rugby and international level this year. However when he was also absent from training when the team ran at Newlands on Wednesday, it did prompt speculation that perhaps it wasn’t quite business as usual with Vermeulen this time around.
Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez’s ankle injury is worse than expected and it has now ruled him out for the rest of the year.
According to SARU, Du Preez will miss the remainder of the South African season following an ankle injury sustained by the Springbok scrumhalf in last Saturday’s 55-6 Test victory over Scotland in Port Elizabeth.
Du Preez left the field in the first half of the Test. He was sent for x-rays immediately afterwards and went for an MRI scan in Pretoria on Monday, which confirmed earlier suspicions of an anterior syndesmotic injury. He will be sidelined for approximately six months.