The Springboks suffered another injury blow ahead of the series against the British and Irish Lions with the news that Frans Steyn may be out for several weeks.
Louis de Villiers writes for Sport 24 that the versatile backline player injured knee ligaments against the Highlanders. It’s a similar injury to the one that sidelined Ruan Pienaar for seven weeks. If Steyn’s injury does not recover faster than Pienaar’s, he will have to wait until he is 34 in order to play against the Lions in South Africa again!
Steyn’s injury comes shortly after a broken leg ruled Stormers fullback Conrad Jantjes out for the season. Jantjes would have started at fullback for South Africa.
There is also still uncertainty about injuries to Schalk Burger (calf), Jean de Villiers (groin) and Andries Bekker (ribs).
Sharks coach John Plumtree said Ruan Pienaar would start at flyhalf in Steyn’s absence against the Waratahs.
He believes Pienaar is 100 percent ready and will be a key player in Steyn’s absence.
“We only left him on the bench as a precautionary measure. Some players enjoy being thrown straight back in after a long absence, while others prefer being introduced gradually. We thought it would suit Ruan to make his comeback off the bench,” said Plumtree.
In other developments, scrumhalf Rory Kockott has been suspended for a week, but centre Adrian Jacobs was back in training.
Plumtree was philosophical about the punishment dished out to Kockott, who struck Highlanders flank Adam Thomson with an open hand.
“It could have been worse,” Plumtree told the media.
“Rory was immediately embarrassed about the incident. He apologised to his teammates straight afterwards.” Sanzar judicial officer Dekker Govender considered the incident reckless and suspended Kockott for a week.
Kockott will therefore be back when the Sharks take on the Bulls in the final round. Charl McLeod will play scrumhalf in Kockott’s place.
Meanwhile, Govender also suspended Highlanders centre Daniel Bowden for a week for a high tackle on the Sharks’ Riaan Swanepoel.Tweet