South Africa
Eben Etzebeth throws scare into Springboks with calf injury
ESPN Staff
September 1, 2015

Eben Etzebeth has thrown a scare into the Springboks' Rugby World Cup after sustaining a grade I calf strain at training in Durban on Monday.

Springboks team doctor Craig Roberts said that Etzebeth, one of just four locks in the Boks squad, "felt discomfort in his calf and was immediately pulled from the practice session".

Roberts said, however, that Etzebeth was not in doubt for the Rugby World Cup as scans revealed he had only a grade-1 strain.

"He has already started with his rehabilitation and we're confident that he will be ready for the start of the World Cup," Roberts said.

News of the injury, just as returning stars Duane Vermeulen, Jean de Villiers, Jannie du Plessis, Fourie du Preez and Francois Louw all started to train with the squad on Tuesday, will have frightened Boks fans concerned, as noted in ESPN's Scrum5 Podcast, that veteran Victor Matfield was the only lock in the squad who had not suffered serious injury prompting a long spell on the sideline in the past 12 months.

Etzebeth, Lood de Jager and Pieter-Steph du Toit have missed substantial time on the field with their respective ankle and chest, elbow, and knee injuries.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer, meanwhile, has applauded the work of his medical, strength and conditioning staff after his players "suffered a high number of injuries during the Rugby Championship".

"We're confident that all of the players will be fit to be considered for selection for our opening match against Japan in Brighton on 19 September," Meyer said. "Hours and hours of very hard work behind the scenes were put in to ensure the players' general fitness levels improved, while at the same time bringing injured players back into action.

"When we got together for the first time at the end of June, we had a large number of injured players in the squad while I was also not satisfied with our levels of fitness. It was also remarkable to see the brilliant attitude of the players. They really worked incredibly hard in the last two months and I'm very pleased to say that our general fitness levels have improved considerably."

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