De Villiers, Alberts & Du Preez set to return for Boks

Francois Louw is staying with Bath until 2019

South Africa will contest their final Rugby Championship match against Argentina
in Durban without Springbok forwards Jannie du Plessis and Francois Louw.

While the loss of the international duo is a blow the Springboks could get
Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts back for the match.

The Springbok medical team have also said that they are optimistic of delivering
a fully fit squad to the selectors for the Rugby World Cup.

De Villiers, Du Preez and Alberts are three of seven 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 RWC 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 Argentina 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 one of the two forthcoming Tests,” said
Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts on the SArugby site.

“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 tight head 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
two 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.”

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