South African Rugby
Springboks count cost of injuries
ESPNscrum Staff
July 6, 2011

South Africa have revealed that 21 members of their squad will miss their opening two Tri-Nations fixtures due to injury.

The worrying casualty list was confirmed by the Springboks' medical team earlier today with a wealth of talent including vice-captain Victory Matfield (calf and neck), hooker Bismarck du Plessis (shoulder), fly-half Butch James (knee) and winger Bryan Habana (shoulder) among those who will miss the clash with Australia in Sydney on July 23 and New Zealand in Wellington the following week.

Team doctor Craig Roberts said that a number of players had been put on intense rehabilitation programmes and while some faced a race against time to be fit to play any part in the Tri-Nations, no one had been ruled out of contention for selection for the Rugby World Cup.

"Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen recently sustained serious injuries and will definitely not be ready to take part but we're hopeful that others who have had long-term injuries, such as Juan Smith, Heinrich Brüssow and Gurthrö Steenkamp, may be available at some point in the Series," he said.

"There are a number of other players who have been playing through Vodacom Super Rugby with chronic injuries and need rehabilitation now to avoid the risk of the breaking down with longer term injuries in the near future."

Andy Marinos, manager of National Teams for SARU, said that the medical team had taken a pragmatic approach to what is an intense International season. "Some players have had a huge a huge amount of rugby and it shows in the wear and tear on their bodies," said Marinos. "We're treating them on an individual basis to make sure they are fully fit to peak at the right times this year."

Marinos also confirmed that the Springbok squad for the Springboks' opening two Tests of the Tri-Nations would be named on Saturday.

Injured players unavailable for selection for the away leg of Tri-Nations:
Duane Vermeulen (knee), Fourie du Preez (knee), Schalk Burger (thumb), Victor Matfield (calf and neck), Frans Steyn (ankle and back), Jaque Fourie (groin), Jean de Villiers (groin), BJ Botha (knee), Juan Smith (Achilles), Willem Alberts (shoulder), Bismarck du Plessis (shoulder), Andries Bekker (shoulder, groin and ankle), Jannie du Plessis (knee), Francois Louw (clavicle), Gurthrö Steenkamp (forearm), Francois Hougaard (ankle), Butch James (knee), JP Pietersen (back), Tendai Mtawarira (hamstring), Bryan Habana (shoulder), Bakkies Botha (knee).

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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