A niggling hip flexor injury may have kept Springbok centre Jan Serfontein sidelined for parts of the Super Rugby season, but he is hopeful to soon stake a claim for a place in this year’s Rugby World Cup squad.
“Injuries have been a bit of a setback for me this year, but I’m on my way back. Maybe the fitness is a bit down, but it’s something you can work on, on your own,” Serfontein said at the Springbok camp in Johannesburg this week.
“I’m just hoping to get some game time for the World XV and in The Rugby Championship coming up.
Two injured players in the Springbok training squad, Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit, have been temporarily released from the squad to continue their rehabilitation in Durban for the next few weeks.
Neither of them are expected to be fit for the Springboks’ 1st 2 matches of the season, next Saturday against the World XV in Cape Town and a week later against Australia in Brisbane. Steyn has a pectoral muscle tear, while Du Toit is recovering from a knee injury.
According to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer the decision to send Steyn and Du Toit home was taken with the best interests of the players in mind.
“We’ve discussed the way forward with the players, and all of us agreed that the best way forward at this stage is for them to get full-time rehabilitation at their home province, while our own medical team will keep very close tabs on their progress,” said Meyer.
“Both of them are still firmly in our plans going forward for the season and I really hope they can get back onto the field sooner rather than later. I’m confident the individual attention they will receive in Durban will be a massive benefit to them in the long run.
“We won’t be taking Frans or Pieter-Steph with us to Australia and will reassess their situation when we return from Brisbane.”
With the International Test window just around the corner (11 July), the Rugby news in South Africa is being dominated by Springbok preparations for what lies ahead in 2015… The World XV game, the abbreviated Rugby Championship and 1 further match against Los Pumas and of course the Rugby World Cup from 18 September to 31 October 2015.
Of course, it could also be argued that we do not have anything else to talk about, because South African sides have all been done and dusted with Super Rugby for a couple of weeks already, whilst 2 New Zealand sides are still contesting it… on their ownsome lonesome!
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise though, for overall Springbok preparations, as they now have much more time to get their ducks in a row for the international scene, and to re-introduce the injured and rehabilitating players…
BUT, and it’s a big BUT… the injury list seems almost as long as the list of fighting fit candidates and that is a big concern.
In this article, we focus on what Heyneke Meyer says and feels about his chosen Springbok squad, and we have a good look at the fitness and injury update from the Springbok camp.
Springbok scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will be sidelined for an extended period with a medial knee ligament injury.
When Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer unveiled a 49-strong squad on Saturday, a paragraph in the official media release revealed that “He suffered a knee injury while training with his Japanese club earlier this week”.
More clarity regarding Du Preez’s injury was given in Johannesburg on Monday, where it was determined that the 33-year-old former Loftus-based favourite, now contracted to Suntory Goliath in Japan, will be sidelined for between 4 to 8 weeks.
The other scrumhalves picked in the Springbok squad are Ruan Pienaar, Cobus Reinach, Faf de Klerk and Rudy Paige.
Another serious injury concern is prop Coenie Oosthuizen who had a neck operation today and will miss the Castle Rugby Championship.
The Highlanders have received a boost with the news that flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, who suffered a knee injury at a training camp, is set to take his place in their Super Rugby semi-final against the Waratahs.
“He’s fine. He just twisted his knee, it’s a wee bit of a one off,” coach Jamie Joseph said in Sydney on Friday. “It was a wee bit of a scare for everybody, but he’s fine and he’s going to train today.”
The 24-year-old, who has also been named in an extended All Blacks squad, had initially feared he might have to sit out Saturday’s match against the defending champions.
“I think his body feels fine today and, as Jamie said, it was just a bit of a scare at the time,” added Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith.
The Springboks will welcome the news that flyhalf Pat Lambie has been declared fit for action.
The Cell C Sharks pivot visited a specialist on Thursday to determine the extent of the neck injury which sidelined him for the past 3 months.
The Sharks on Thursday announced that the 24-year-old was fit to play.
He is expected to be included in Heyneke Meyer’s Springbok squad on Saturday.
Waratahs head coach Michael Cheika has named the team to face the Highlanders in the 2015 Super Rugby Semi-Final to be played at Allianz Stadium, Sydney on Saturday 27 June. Kick-Off is at 19:55 AEST (21:55 NZ Time, 09:55 GMT).
Matt Carraro has been named to play in the centres after Kurtley Beale failed to complete training on Thursday.
Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie will see a specialist in Durban on Thursday to determine his availability.
A neck injury saw the Sharks pivot miss the latter half of the Super Rugby competition and there is uncertainty regarding his availability for the Springboks’ 1st game against a World XV at DHL Newlands on 11 July.
“I’m going to see the doctor for a final examination,” Lambie said. “I hope to be fit and available for the World XV match as well as The Rugby Championship.”
Waratahs’ centre Kurtley Beale is in a race against time to be ready for the Waratahs’ semifinal match with the Highlanders in Sydney on Saturday.
Neither Beale nor wing Rob Horne trained with the side on Tuesday, and while Horne is expected to recover from a calf niggle in time, Waratahs assistant coach Daryl Gibson conceded time is against them regarding Beale’s injured quadriceps.
Gibson said Beale would be given until Thursday to be ready, but the Waratahs were preparing for versatile utility Matt Carraro to reprise the role he took at short notice against the Reds a fortnight ago.
“Beale’s been doing his exercises and getting up to a running pace that enables him to at least have a chance on Thursday to see if he can make it,” Gibson said.
Dan Pryor’s Super Rugby season is likely over after the versatile forward suffered a dislocated elbow in his side’s Qualifier triumph over the Chiefs.
Pryor came from the field in the 61st minute and the Highlanders confirmed via social media on Sunday morning that the 27-year-old had suffered the injury.
Head coach Jamie Joseph confirmed that Pryor will definitely miss next week’s Semi-Final against the Waratahs.
DHL Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis will be ready for their Super Rugby qualifier against the Brumbies at Newlands on Saturday.
Catrakilis suffered concussion in his side’s 19 / 19 home draw against the Emirates Lions on 6 June when he attempted to tackle loose forward Jaco Kriel.
The Stormers pivot was rested for last weekend’s 34 / 12 loss to the Cell C Sharks in Durban, with Kurt Coleman taking his place.
But Catrakilis is raring to go for this Saturday’s clash, coach Allister Coetzee confirmed.
“Dim is fine – he passed his test with flying colours, he’s cleared,” Coetzee told the Stormers’ official website.
The Brumbies are following protocol regarding the concussion of flank David Pocock in the hopes that he will be available for their must-win game against the DHL Stormers on Saturday.
Pocock was taken out of the Crusaders game just before halftime on Saturday, after he copped a knock to the head from a Richie McCaw cleanout at the breakdown.
The Brumbies No 7 stayed down for several seconds, but played on for about 5 minutes before coming off.
Chiefs scrumhalf Augustine Pulu has been ruled out of the Super Rugby’s Finals Series due to a broken arm.
Pulu, who represented the All Blacks in 2 Tests on their 2014 end-of-year tour, sustained the injury after coming on as a replacement in the Chiefs’ 21 / 13 defeat to the Hurricanes in New Plymouth on Saturday.
“Pulu underwent surgery earlier today to insert a plate,” the Chiefs revealed via a press release on Sunday.
“The expected return to play time is 8 to 10 weeks.”
The Hurricanes will enter their derby against the Chiefs without the services of All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett after the playmaker was ruled out with a calf strain.
Barrett’s absence sees James Marshall return to flyhalf after playing fullback in his team’s 56 / 20 victory over the Highlanders last week. Nehe Milner-Skudder moves from the wing to take Marshall’s place at the back.
Head coach Chris Boyd has also shuffled his forwards slightly, bringing Mark Abbott and Callum Gibbins into the starting line-up, along with Brad Shields who came off the bench last week.
Boyd has decided to let hardworking forwards James Broadhurst and Ardie Savea keep their jackets on a little while longer this week, with the pair having started 13 and 12 matches respectively, out of a possible 15.
Meanwhile, the clash will see another milestone for centre and captain Conrad Smith, who will join Ma’a Nonu as the most capped Hurricane when he leads his team onto Yarrow Stadium this weekend.
Vodacom Bulls midfielder Jan Serfontein has not recovered sufficiently from a knee strain and will miss his team’s last Vodacom Super Rugby clash of the season against the Toyota Cheetahs in Pretoria on Saturday.
Serfontein returned home from Australia two weeks ago due to the MCL strain and will not make it onto the field on Saturday, Vodacom Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed.
Deon Stegmann, who missed the Rebels match due to bruised ribs, will be given till Thursday to prove his fitness, but JJ Engelbrecht (elbow), Burger Odendaal (hamstring), Jacques du Plessis (back) and Jesse Kriel (quad) were all back on the field on Tuesday.
DHL Stormers No 8 and captain Duane Vermeulen consulted a neurosurgeon on Monday, after he was withdrawn from the past weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby clash against the Lions with a severe neck spasm.
Vermeulen suffered an intense spasm in his neck after last Friday’s captain’s run, with an MRI showing a bulging disc at a C5 level.
However, the DHL Stormers and Springbok star consulted a neurosurgeon on Monday and the prognosis was positive ahead of the upcoming Vodacom Super Rugby play-offs, with the DHL Stormers set to host either a quarter- or semifinal in the coming weeks.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph is facing some serious selection posers in the wake of his team’s humiliation at the hands of Super Rugby’s runaway leaders, the Hurricanes.
As if shipping more than 50 points were not enough, he has lost 2 more locks and now have a serious 2nd row crisis.
Tom Franklin and Alex Ainley became the latest additions to the 2nd row injury list – which also includes Joe Wheeler (knee) and Mark Reddish (hand).
It means Joseph is down to some utility forwards, rather than specialist locks, ahead of the Final Round of league action – when they face the Blues in Auckland on Friday.
Joseph – who rested the star All Black trio of Ben and Aaron Smith, as well as Malakai Fekitoa – started the match against the Hurricanes with a host of players on the injury list.
Apart from the locks, Shane Christie (hamstring), Hayden Parker (shoulder), Kane Hames (knee), Nasi Manu (shoulder), Patrick Osborne (calf) and Josh Renton (hamstring) were unavailable.
A female rugby player showed the boys how it’s done when she made 2 bone-crunching tackles after breaking her nose on the pitch.
Georgia Page, an Australian who plays for US university team Lindenwood, broke her nose during a match against Notre Dame earlier this week.
Instead of calling time on her game, she soldiered on – making 2 further tackles with blood streaming down her face – and winning legions of supporters on social media.
USA Sevens Rugby tweeted out a picture and video of Ms Page during the match, referring to her as the “the Rugby War Goddess,” much to the amusement of the goddess herself who replied: “this is great”.
The Brumbies’ Sam Carter’s Super Rugby season is over and his Rugby World Cup dream is in doubt after suffering a grade 3 medial injury in Friday night’s clash against the Vodacom Bulls.
“It’s a significant tear in the medial ligament and he’s got a fracture where the bones banged together on impact, so up to 3 months with that one,” Brumbies’ head coach Stephen Larkham said.
“We knew it was bad, the fact he couldn’t play on was pretty telling and then you look at the replay and you can see it was a significant injury.
“We were hoping for good and the good news we were hoping for was 6 weeks anyway.
has recovered from a concussion and is available for selection as the Melbourne Rebels head to Durban to tackle the Sharks in Round 16.
Toby Smith (back) has also recovered from his injury to be available for selection this week.
Tighthead prop Tim Metcher has injured his knee in the Connect Dewar Shield and is undergoing further tests, while Tamati Ellison is suffering from a groin niggle.
Metcher and Ellison will know after further assessment of their injuries if they are available to play.
The Toyota Cheetahs could be boosted by the return of several key players for their Super Rugby clash against the DHL Stormers on Saturday.
Lock Lood de Jager (elbow), scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius (shoulder), flyhalf Joe Pietersen (shoulder) and flank Tienie Burger (concussion) could all return to action in the clash at Newlands (17:05 SA Time).
No 8 Willie Britz, who injured his elbow in last weekend’s 40 / 17 defeat to the Lions, could also be ready to face the Stormers.
However, confirmation about the players’ availability will only be known later in the week.
The Crusaders’ fast-fading hope of reaching the Super Rugby play-offs were dealt another cruel blow.
It was revealed that 5 of the team’s All Blacks have been ruled out of the encounter with the tournament’s runaway leaders, the Hurricanes, in Nelson on Friday.
Top of that list is lock Sam Whitelock, who has the recipient of a brutal double spear tackle by 2 Waratahs players – lock Will Skelton and hooker Silatolu Latu.
The duo were handed 2 and 4-week bans on Monday, following their combined actions.
Whitelock has been ruled out of the trip to Nelson due to concussion.
Captain Kieran Read has already been ruled out of the match with the same affliction.
The Crusaders will also be without fullback Israel Dagg (calf), flyhalf Colin Slade (quadricep) and prop Joe Moody (foot).
The Chiefs will have at least 1 of their specialist locks back from injury to take on the Highlanders in Invercargill on Saturday but that might be all.
Lock Mike FitzGerald is good to go after missing the last match against the Bulls and most of the previous 1 against the Hurricanes with a particularly bad haematoma on his thigh, but there are still doubts over both star All Blacks 2nd rowers Brodie Retallick and concussed Englishman Matt Symons.
Retallick has now missed 3 matches with the shoulder injury he picked up in the Chiefs’ win over the Force in Hamilton, having missed 5 weeks of the competition earlier in the season when he hurt his other shoulder.
He took part in training yesterday morning, but head coach Dave Rennie said there was still a question mark over him this week as he works on regaining strength in his shoulder.
The Cell C Sharks have paid a dear price for snapping a 6-match losing streak with a hard-fought a 21 / 14 over the Reds last Friday.
Stephan Lewies, Willem Alberts, Francois Steyn, Stefan Ungerer and Dale Chadwick were the latest additions to an injury list that already includes names like Cobus Reinach (fractured hand), Pieter-Steph du Toit (knee) and Pat Lambie (neck vertebrae).
The Sharks started training in Durban on Monday – after a tour that saw them lose to the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Waratahs, before beating the Reds.
With games against the Melbourne Rebels (this coming Friday 29 May) and the Stormers on 13 June to come, with a BYE sandwiched in between, the last thing they needed was more injuries.
Lewies, who missed the 1st half of the season through injury, looks set to miss the remaining matches after he dislocated his knee cap in Brisbane at the weekend.
Vodacom Bulls midfielder Jan Serfontein has been ruled out of the remainder of their tour due to grade 1 medial knee ligament injury. Serfontein has already made his way back to South Africa and will be replaced by Jurgen Visser for the Australian leg of the trip.
Jesse Kriel, who limped off on Friday against the Chiefs, has a contusion on his knee, but trained on Monday, Vodacom Bulls team doctor Org Strauss confirmed. Trevor Nyakane, who had a bruised hip, also trained.
Lappies Labuschagne though, will only train tomorrow, due to a trachea contusion.
Chiefs’ lock Johan Bardoul is set to watch the remainder of the Super Rugby season from the sideline, as he has been ruled out with a knee injury.
Bardoul has suffered the same injury as his flatmate and fellow lock Michael Allardice, and ruptured the medial ligament in his right knee.
The Chiefs have had a collapse of injuries in the 2nd row, with All Black and World Rugby Player of the Year Brodie Retallick, and Allardice both suffering set-backs.
This saw the Chiefs pull Ross Filipo out of retirement for their game against the Bulls last Friday to cover in the lock department.
It is an unlucky 13 for the Blues, with 13 players on the injury list, including 4 players who are unlikely to play again in the final 4 weeks of the Super Rugby regular season.
Joining captain Jerome Kaino and Luke Braid on the long term injured list are All Blacks Steven Luatua and Patrick Tuipulotu.
Luatua, the stand-in captain for Kaino, dislocated his shoulder in the win over the Bulls on Friday and with the associated nerve damage, will not return for the Blues final 3 games. Tuipulotu has a long-term hip injury that has worsened and he, too, is unlikely to make it back in the next 4 weeks.
Both players require further tests prior to any decisions about their prognosis and management.
Joining them on the unavailable list this week is Tony Woodcock with a shoulder injury sustained in a collapsed scrum in the match against the Bulls and Charlie Faumuina who is on All Blacks leave.
Others not considered for this week’s match include Pita Ahki (hamstring), Dan Bowden (groin) and Bryn Hall (foot).
Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, who said earlier this month he might retire if he was badly concussed again, will be rested from Super Rugby for another 3 weeks to ensure he has fully recovered from a head knock.
The hard-running No 2 suffered the latest in a long string of concussions in the Waratahs’ win over the Brumbies in Canberra on 1 May and has not played since.
Michael Cheika, both Waratahs and Australia coach this year, said the 29-year-old would not play against the Crusaders this weekend or on the 2-match tour of South Africa that follows the 2014 Super Rugby final re-match.
“There is no point in taking him to South Africa and having doubts over him,” Cheika told reporters on Tuesday.
Electrifying wing Sefanaia Naivalu is the only injury concern for the Melbourne Rebels as they prepare to face the DHL Stormers on Saturday.
Naivalu, who scored a double last week during the Rebels loss to the Reds in Brisbane, is facing a test before being declared fit to play against the Stormers in Cape Town at Newlands.
The speedster suffered a head knock against the Reds on Friday in Brisbane, and will follow concussion protocols this week.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has revealed he has targeted the beginning of July to be back on the field.
If he achieves his aim, it will be an exceptional recovery from a total knee reconstruction after the painful injury he suffered in the match against Wales at the end of last season.
Since then De Villiers has been working tirelessly at rehabilitating the knee in order to meet the deadline, with things going a lot better than initially expected.
The Bok captain is already running again and hopes next month to resume team training before getting onto the field in early July.
Speaking at the Supersport Networking lunch at the Johannesburg Country Club, De Villiers was an optimistic man, and said if all goes to plan he will be fit and on the field again long before the final Rugby World Cup squad was picked.
“The recovery has gone very well. These days whenever I meet someone it’s always the 1st question,” De Villiers said.
The Hurricanes have confirmed Beauden Barrett will sit out the next month of Super Rugby.
Barrett’s scans revealed a grade 2 tear of his medial collateral ligament (MCL) which he suffered during the Hurricanes’ match against the Crusaders on Saturday 2 May.
“Obviously I’m gutted with the injury, but fortunately it’s not season-ending for me,” said Barrett.
Melbourne Rebels and Wallaby loose forward Sean McMahon has been cleared of any serious damage to his hip, after limping off against the Chiefs in considerable pain last Saturday.
McMahon, who was replaced in the opening half of the Rebels’ 16 / 15 victory over the Chiefs at AAMI Park, will still need to pass a number of different tests to prove his availability ahead of the visit of the Blues this Friday.
Rebels’ head of athletic performance Bryce Cavanagh said McMahon’s injury was a painful blow to his hip, making movement difficult and uncomfortable for the 2nd year player.
Blue Bulls lock RG Snyman was withdrawn from the Junior Springbok touring squad to Argentina due to an ankle ligament injury.
The big lock hurt his ankle during a training session in Stellenbosch and will be out of action for 2 to 4 weeks.
Loose forward Rikus Bothma, the former SA Schools captain and skipper of last year’s Western Province Under 19 team, has been named as his replacement.
Snyman will continue with his rehabilitation until Friday and will return to the camp when the squad reassembles after the tour. He will undergo a fitness test on his return.
The Cell C Sharks’ task of rescuing their Vodacom Super Rugby tour of Australasia from disaster became more difficult on Monday when it was confirmed that Jaco Reinach had flown home after sustaining an arm fracture against the Highlanders last Friday.
Reinach was replaced at halftime in that game in what was explained to the television commentators as a tactical substitution. However, it has been subsequently learned that Reinach broke his arm and is on his way back to South Africa.
The Sharks took 3 scrumhalves on tour, so Director Of Rugby, Gary Gold, is likely to continue with Conrad Hoffmann, who finished the Highlanders game as Reinach’s replacement, with Stefan Ungerer coming into the match day squad to provide cover off the bench.
The DHL Stormers’ injury woes continue as lock Ruan Botha is the next casualty on the list of sidelined players.
Botha has been ruled out of this weekend’s Super Rugby meeting with the Brumbies at Newlands, whilst centre and vice-captain Juan de Jongh is an injury doubt.
Botha suffered an ankle ligament injury against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last Saturday, as the Stormers went down 17 / 25.
Botha is in a moon boot and could be ruled out from 3 to 6 weeks. The team doctor is still to make a call on the length of his lay-off, but he has been ruled out for this week.
De Jongh is suffering from a hip pointer injury which saw him leave the field in the 23rd minute, and it is usually a 10-day injury.
Utility back Jaco Taute is available but the initial plan is for him to play 40 minutes for Western Province in the Vodacom Cup.
“Giving him (Taute) 40 minutes in the Vodacom Cup is the initial plan, but with our injuries at present we could slot him into the team against a quality Brumbies outfit,” said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.