Jean could still go on tour
A grade one hamstring injury has ruled Western Province skipper Jean de Villiers out of the rest of the Absa Currie Cup season, but the good news is that he could still go on tour with the Springboks in November.
De Villiers, the national captain, underwent a scan on Wednesday after leaving the field during a WP training session at Newlands in some discomfort.
The injury will force De Villiers out of rugby for three weeks, and if all goes according to plan in his rehabilitation, he should be back on the field in time to leave with the Boks for the November tour.
But hamstring injuries are often difficult to shake off and it will be cutting it fine, because the Boks are due to open their end-of-year tour with a test against Ireland in Dublin in three and a half weeks from now.
That doesn’t leave much leeway for the Bok skipper to be ready for the first match and his injury underlines the folly of pressing overworked national players into playing in a Currie Cup which most agree doesn’t carry the gravitas it used to as a competition and none of the top unions contracts specifically for.
At least though the fact that De Villiers will be prevented from playing over the next few weeks should be some sort of consolation to Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer as it means the centre cannot fall prey to any other kind of mishap.
The news hasn’t been so good for two other WP Springboks who were injured playing against the Cheetahs last week – hooker Tiaan Liebenberg is out for eight weeks with a vertebrae injury and Andries Bekker has been ruled out for six with a toe injury, meaning that they will both miss the end-of-year tour.
Of the 30 players who completed the Castle Rugby Championship as members of the Bok squad, one more – Free State Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen – has also already been ruled out of touring.
And young flyhalf Johan Goosen won’t be part of the overseas tour group because he was injured playing for the Boks in the final Championship test.
So Meyer will be holding his thumbs over the next two weeks of Currie Cup play-off action, plus one relegation match, that no more of his players are ruled out and thus undermine his plans for a tour that should be seen as an opportunity for his new combinations to start settling and new players to establish themselves at international level ahead of next year’s challenges.