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Rugby | Springboks

Kriel out for six months



The Springboks were dealt a massive blow on Tuesday when news that Bok flanker Jaco Kriel will miss six months of rugby and will need to undergo an operation was made public.

Kriel returned home from the Springboks’ away trip in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship last week after injuring his shoulder in Perth in the draw against Australia and underwent an examination that diagnosed a “severe shoulder injury” Kriel is set to miss six months of rugby after undergoing an operation on Tuesday.

“Springbok and Lions flanker Jaco Kriel sustained a severe shoulder injury in the Rugby Championship test against Australia in Perth on 9 September,” the Emirates Lions said in a release.

“As a result he will undergo an operation today (Tuesday) and is expected to return to play in six months.” This means Kriel misses the rest of the Rugby Championship as well as the end of year tour, and will probably only return in month two of next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

The news comes after news that the Boks will be without captain Warren Whiteley as well as props Frans Malherbe and Coenie Oosthuizen for the remainder of the Rugby Championship and will need in particular to find replacements for Kriel and Oosthuizen.

There has been some talk of Saracens prop Vincent Koch getting a recall, but Koch has played less than the 30 tests required to pick from the overseas-based players, and as such, special dispensation will be needed by the Bok management if they want to bring him back.

Wilco Louw was flown into New Zealand as cover after Oosthuizen went home, and is likely to now stay with the squad because of the dearth of tightheads that are fit at the moment.

In Kriel’s case, a replacement needs to be found and coach Allister Coetzee hinted on arrival home that Francois Louw, the inspirational Bath captain and regular from the squad, would be considered.

Louw told the Bath Chronicle he was “on standbye” for the Boks.

"I am on standby (for South Africa)‚" Louw told the Bath Chronicle.

"Whether or not they decide to use me‚ obviously there's been a couple of injuries‚ but I think they've got enough good men there to do a good job.

"I'm obviously torn‚ as I've always been‚ whether I'm playing there or playing here.

"It's a huge honour to play for your country.

"Any player who has represented their country can tell you that‚ but this is my club and a team I'm obviously very passionate about.”

Louw’s last game was the 57-15 loss against the All Blacks in Durban last year, but his recent form, scoring for Bath and leading the turnovers in the Premiership league makes him an ideal candidate. He also possesses the experience severely lacking at the moment in the Bok squad.

· The Lions also announced that lock Lourens Erasmus will return to South Africa from his club in Japan to undergo an operation on his left knee and will be out of action for “approximately three months.”



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