An administrative blunder by the South African Rugby Union, rather than injury, might turn out to be the biggest stumbling block in the way of Frans Steyn’s return to the Springbok team.
Rugby365.com can reveal that SARU have failed to file, on time, the clearance request required by the FFR (Fédération Française de Rugby) for the release of players to their national unions for Test duty.
And to add insult to injury, Steyn’s French club, Racing Metro, have confirmed that Steyn has, in fact, suffered a quad muscle injury that will sideline him from training until next Wednesday.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Racing confirmed that Steyn would not feature for the ‘The Sky and Whites’ in their Top 14 opener against Brive at Stade Amédée-Domenech on Friday.
“Francois Steyn, Andrea Masi, Karim Ghezal and Scott Zimmerman are all still recovering from their injuries,” read the club’s statement. “After medical examinations it was decided that none of them are able to play [this week] and they were not named in the squad chosen by [head coach] Pierre Berbizier.”
However, rugby365.com can reveal that Steyn suffered a quad injury, and not an ankle injury as previously reported in the media, in a pre-season friendly last Friday.
He is allowed to start training next Wednesday only and would then, obviously, be required to pass a fitness test if the Boks still want him to feature against the All Blacks in Soweto next Saturday.
However, an even bigger problem for Steyn, and the Boks, could turn out to be the administrative bungle by SARU officials, who failed to submit the clearance request on time.
An FFR source confirmed that the clearance request must be submitted 14 days in advance… But SARU filed the documentation this week only.
Should the FFR play hardball and insist on the 14-day clearance – rather than release Steyn on short notice – he will be released only for the two Tri-Nations Tests against the Wallabies – in Pretoria on August 28 and Bloemfontein a week later.
This development follows a statement issued from the Bok camp on Wednesday, which said they were still awaiting clarity on the extent of Steyn’s injury.
Steyn, who was included in the Springbok training group of 29 announced last Sunday, underwent a scan in Paris this week, after picking up an injury in a pre-season match last Friday.
The Springbok training squad assembled in Johannesburg on Tuesday, to begin preparations for the home leg of the Tri-Nations – the Boks, of course, having suffered three big losses in New Zealand and Australia last month.
A final squad of 24 – which will then be trimmed to 22 to face the All Blacks – is expected to be confirmed at the conclusion of the camp on Friday.Tweet