South Africa paid a dear price for their record 63-9 win over Argentina in their Mandela Tribute Test in Johannesburg on Saturday, with two senior Springboks sustaining potentially serious injuries.
Rugby 365 reports that Bok lock Bakkies Botha and centre Jaque Fourie sustained injuries that could upset coach Peter de Villiers’ planning for the three home Tri-Nations Tests – against New Zealand in Cape Town next Saturday (August 16), followed by back-to-back encounters with Australia in Durban and Johannesburg.
Fourie, selected for the Test against the advice of his provincial coach Eugene Eloff who felt he hadn’t sufficiently recovered from a groin injury, made his first Test appearance of the year when he came on in the 52nd minute – but he left the field minutes later after an opponent’s head crashed into his cheekbone as Fourie was trying to save a try.
Botha left the field with a knee injury.
Fourie’s injury was reported as a “cheekbone fracture”, but afterwards manager of national teams, Andy Marinos, said the two players had been taken for scans and that a report on the seriousness of their injuries will only be available on Monday.
De Villiers said that he was happy to carry on through the Tri-Nations with the current players – with Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger, who were rested on Saturday to give them time to recover fully from their shoulder and neck injuries respectively, set to return for the Cape Town showdown.
“However, I have said all along if anyone is injured that I would look to the squad players now with their unions. We can’t control injuries,” the coach said, adding: “We’ll make a decision as soon as we can and put players on standby.”
The coach was happy with the way his side had played despite their slow start to the match – which saw Argentina take a 9-0 lead – before the Boks exploded with nine tries, the first coming in the 31st minute.
“They did after all prove that they’re proud of the Springbok jersey and that they wanted to win,” he said.
De Villiers feels the game would help to build confidence for next week’s must-win Tri-Nations Test at Newlands against the All Blacks.
“We now know what we can do. We didn’t go onto the field with the All Blacks in mind, but we know what we’ll have to take up for them.”
He was particularly pleased with the scrums against a side renowned for their proficiency in that facet of the game.
Captain Victor Matfield also felt the scrums and line-outs were good.
He said that the Pumas were physical at the breakdown. He put the Springboks’ struggling performance in the first half hour down to this physicality and the fact that the Boks went onto the field with the mind-set to throw the ball around. That led to a number of turnovers, he feels, “but then we started keeping the ball better and our passes started going to hand.”Tweet