Ryan Kankowski will not be joining the 28-man South African tour group, which will be flying out to New Zealand for a three-match Tri-Nations trip this week.
Rugby 365 reports that the Springboks will play the All Blacks in back-to-back Tests in Wellington (July 5) and Dunedin (July 12), before crossing the Tasman Sea to face the Wallabies in Perth a week later.
The steely Sharks No.8, Kankowski, was stretchered off the field as the Boks’ Test against Italy at Newlands at the weekend was closing in on half-time.
Kankowski was left dazed by a clash of heads after a thunderous tackle from Italy’s South African-born lock Carlo del Fava, although he felt fine a few minutes afterwards in the dressing room. Del Fava’s effort earned himself a yellow card.
There was nothing to suggest that Kankowski was in any way disorientated when he mixed with guests at Saturday’s post-match function at Newlands Stadium.
Springbok communications manager Chris Hewitt said on Sunday that Kankowski will be on a rehabilitation programme over the next two weeks to see if the player suffers from ill effects or headaches after his Del Fava ordeal. Once the results of tests are known the Springbok management will decide if they want Kankowski to join the tour.
It’s very unlikely that he will be flown out because SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) regulations stipulate that only 28 players are allowed in each Tri-Nations squad.
The other player who will not be flying out this week is John Smit, the most capped Springbok captain of all-time.
Smit was in the victorious Clermont-Auvergne side that toppled Percy Montgomery’s Perpignan in the French Top 14 semi-final in Marseilles at the weekend.
Clermont’s victory has earned them a place in next Saturday’s Final at the Stade de France, the venue where Smit and his triumphant Springboks captured the Webb Ellis Cup last October.
Smit will be flying out from Paris to Wellington, New Zealand, a day after the final and should rejoin the Boks in the week leading up to the first Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks.
Montgomery will be flying in to South Africa on Monday and join up with the squad which assembles in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The Springbok selectors met with Springbok coach Peter de Villiers on Sunday to decide on the squad for the three Tests in Australasia.
They will announce the tour group on Monday.
De Villiers said that he had already decided last week on the tour group, which suggests that Saturday’s dreary performance in inclement weather had no bearing on his selections. He hasn’t given any indication of his thinking, except for the comment after Saturday’s Test that the fly-halves’ selection is causing him a headache.
Conrad Jantjes and Percy Montgomery select themselves as the fullbacks.
Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers, Adrian Jacobs and Tonderai Chavhanga looks like the pick of the three-quarters. Butch James and Ricky Januarie will be the halfback pairing.
Frans Steyn is a must although he can’t expect too much game time in his preferred fly-half position. Ruan Pienaar, is both too good and versatile to leave at home, and together with Montgomery and Steyn there is splendid cover for the backs.
It is likely that the Boks will take 12 backline players along, and the two remaining spots could go to Bolla Conradie and Peter Grant.
Odwa Ndungane and Gcobani Bobo, who played against Italy on Saturday, could be the ones to miss out.
In the pack, Bismarck du Plessis and Smit will be the hookers, and its likely that because of the specialist nature of the No.2 position, Schalk Brits will also be given the nod.
The rest of the front row should come from BJ Botha, CJ Van der Linda, Beast Mtawarira and Gurthro Steenkamp as the four props. Brian Mujati could miss out.
The locks, and its likely that four will tour, should include Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, Andries Bekker and Danie Rossouw.
Schalk Burger, Juan Smith and Pierre Spies look like the first-choice loose trio combination, with Luke Watson and Joe van
Niekerk to back them up.
Because of the fact that the entire tour party could not be accommodated on the same flight on Wednesday, another group will fly out on Thursday.
There will not be any training for the squad ahead of their departure for New Zealand.
Apart from the health concerns of Kankowski, the Springboks will be looking forward to the day when the likes of Fourie du Preez, Wikus van Heerden and Jaque Fourie all return to full health and ready for action on the international stage.Tweet