Habana and Bekker in doubt
The Springbok management are waiting on wing Bryan Habana and lock Andries Bekker before finalising their team for Saturday’s return Castle Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Mendoza.
According to a South African Rugby Union press release sent from the team hotel in Mendoza in the early hours of Tuesday, both Habana and Bekker are hobbling after going over on their ankles during the 27-6 win over the Pumas in Cape Town last week.
“At the moment we are managing them. They didn’t train today (Monday) and we will make an assessment on their availability later in the week,” said team doctor Craig Roberts in his medical report.
If Bekker is unable to play he can easily be replaced by Juandre Kruger, who played three tests in the series against England when Bekker was unavailable. But should Habana not make it, and he does seem the more doubtful of the pair, it’s going to leave coach Heyneke Meyer in a predicament.
JJ Engelbrecht can play on the wing, of course, and he did make his test debut at Newlands, but having him and Lwazi Mvovo start may leave the Boks a bit short on experience, remembering of course that this is an away match and thus more testing than the matches this new era of Springboks have played together up to now.
It will be interesting to see if Meyer might be prepared to start Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf to enable him to use Francois Hougaard on the wing.
The Bok medical staff have meanwhile confirmed that the injured hooker Bismarck du Plessis is to undergo an operation on his knee on Tuesday.
Du Plessis was ruled out for the rest of the year with ligament injury and has been replaced in the squad by Sharks reserve hooker Craig Burden.