Double injury-blow for Boks

The Springboks suffered a cruel injury setback when two key players – loose forwards Juan Smith and Pierre Spies – were ruled out of the Tri-Nations showdown with New Zealand in Durban this Saturday.

This has resulted in a dramatic recall for former Bok captain Bob Skinstad, who will start at number eight, and Danie Rossouw, who comes off the bench to start at flank.

Spies was ruled out when he suffered a knee injury during a closed training session at training on Thursday, whilst Smith was ruled out when he failed to recover from the thigh injury he sustained in the 22-19 victory over the Wallabies in the opening Tri-Nations match last weekend.

The late injury news aside, the rift between Bok coach Jake White and team manager Zola Yeye appears wider than ever, after news began filtering through on Thursday that Skinstad would, in fact, be starting against the All Blacks in Durban.

Media sources close to White reported the recall of Skinstad, but Yeye was initially caught off-guard when contacted by this website.

Yeye first denied any knowledge of the changes, but it was later confirmed that Skinstad and Rossouw had, in fact, been recalled to the starting line-up.

Skinstad, who made a dramatic return to South Africa this year in a bid to make the World Cup squad, started in the one-off Test against Samoa at Ellis Park two weeks ago. It was his first Test start since the 2002 Tri-Nations against the Wallabies.

However, despite his promising return against Samoa, a niggling shoulder injury then sidelined him from last week’s Tri-Nations Test opener against Australia. He has now made a full recovery, with the injuries to Smith and Spies, two standouts for the Boks in recent years, opening the door for his return.

The Springboks’ injury woes are not quite over, however, as there is still some doubt over the well-being of Jake White’s premier outside centre, Jaque Fourie. Fourie did not train on Tuesday or Wednesday, but White is adamant that he will be available for action come Saturday.

In other news, there are also some reports suggesting that star scrum-half Fourie du Preez could make a dramatic return to action on Saturday.

Michael Claassens was named as Ruan Pienaar’s official replacement on Wednesday, but Du Preez trained with the Boks earlier in the day, prompting certain sources close to the Bok coach to suggest that White could just pull the proverbial rabbit out the hat against the All Blacks.

South Africa (revised): 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Ashwin Willemse, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Butch James, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Bob Skinstad, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Os du Randt.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Johann Muller, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Frans Steyn.

Date: Saturday, 23 June
Venue: ABSA Stadium, Durban
Kick-off: 15.00 (13.00 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Touch judges: Wayne Barnes (England), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Television match official: Hugh Watkins (Wales)


365 Digital

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