White hopes for a miracle

South African coach Jake White is hoping for a miraculous recovery from tighthead prop CJ van der Linde, ahead of his team’s World Cup quarter-final showdown with Fiji at Stade Velodrome, Marseille, on Sunday.

White said at the team’s base in France on Wednesday that he is “hopeful” that Van der Linde will be fit to face the Fijians.

This comes despite the prop, who picked up a knee injury at training on Monday, still being on crutches on Wednesday and not having trained since the mishap.

The Bok medical staff, who diagnosed the injury as “bad bruising”, were not prepared to put a timeframe on his possible return to action.

However, White put a positive spin on the matter in addressing the media on Wednesday.

If Van der Linde is ruled out the Boks would have just one specialist tighthead prop in camp, Cheetahs front row forward Jannie du Plessis – who only flew out to France on Wednesday as replacement for BJ Botha, the latter being ruled out of the competition with knee ligament damage.

“CJ could be fine for the weekend,” White said.

“It is about seeing how quickly he recovers. It’s about time now – he has got a rehab programme and the doc and physio will work on him.”

White made it clear that he would not be taking any unnecessary risks and would only play Van der Linde if he has to.

“We’ve got three games left in the competition and we’ll see if we might be able to get away without risking him – if Jannie [du Plessis] slots in.

“We shouldn’t be blinded to the fact that we’ve got three games to go in the competition if all goes to plan and next week we could be facing Argentina, who back their scrum and we’ll need our strongest tighthead.

“It’s a big call and it’s a call that we’ll have to sit down and think about but, luckily, we’ve got a couple of days to think about it.”

Du Plessis’ delayed arrival is the result of problems with the paperwork involved in securing a visa.

White will name his team to face Fiji on Friday.

 

365 Digital

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