Losing JP a major blow - Meyer
It’s been a great week for people with the surname of Pietersen, or Petersen, on the cricket field, but the Springboks would not have welcomed the blow they sustained on Monday when it was confirmed that JP Pietersen will be out for most of the forthcoming Castle Rugby Championship.
The Springbok management announced that Pietersen fractured his thumb playing for the Sharks in the Super Rugby final against the Chiefs in Hamilton and has been ruled out of rugby for six to eight weeks. That means he will miss both the two matches against Argentina, home and away, as well as the tour of Australia and New Zealand that follows.
The loss of Pietersen is a big blow for the Springboks as Pietersen was a star player in the recent England series and scored the clinching try in the decisive second test in Johannesburg. He has been replaced in the squad by Stormers centre Juan de Jongh, who played 10 test matches for South Africa in the Peter de Villiers era but was not called up for the series against England.
“We decided to call up Juan as he provides midfield cover, an area where we may be a bit short now that JP is not available,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
“JP was going to provide cover for us at outside centre, while JJ Engelbrecht and Francois Hougaard can both be used on the wing, particularly with Bjorn Basson out for another six weeks. Losing JP is obviously a massive blow as he has been playing some superb rugby lately, but Juan has also been in good form for the Stormers and was one of the players unlucky to miss out on selection.”