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Mixed fitness news for South Africa

By Paul Smith
Cheslin Kolbe remains doubtful for Saturday

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Reports emerging from this morning’s media conference have delivered mixed fitness news for South Africa.

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The Springboks seek to bounce back from consecutive Rugby Championship defeats against Australia when they face New Zealand in the next round of action at Townsville.

And according to South African website iol.co.za their hopes have received a boost with the news that powerhouse second row Lood de Jager will be fit to take his place.

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Handre Pollard answers question about South Africa’s recent form
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Handre Pollard answers question about South Africa’s recent form

However, the Boks’ star attacking weapon, winger Cheslin Kolbe, remains doubtful for the contest which takes place on Saturday in Queensland at 8.05am UK time.

Head coach Jacques Nienaber’s team were without Kolbe for both their defeats against the Wallabies – by a narrow 28-26 margin on the Gold Coast then by a more emphatic 30-17 scoreline in Brisbane at the weekend.

The wing took a knock to his leg during a training session prior to the first Test in Australia while de Jager missed the second test due to concussion protocols.

Speaking ahead of the historic 100th meeting between the nations, Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids confirmed that De Jager had returned to training.

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“Lood de Jager, who had a concussion, is back in training,” he said.

“Only Cheslin is in his return-to-training stage, so he is busy getting ready. All of the broader squad is available for selection this weekend.

“Cheslin is still doubtful. He is doing a few exercises, but he is still doubtful for this weekend.”

The South Africans have received plenty of criticism following their back-to-back defeats at the hands of a Wallaby side which has been rejuvenated by the return of veteran fly half Quade Cooper.

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The return of a potential match winner in the form of the electric Kolbe would therefore be extremely welcome ahead of their clash with the in-form Kiwis who returned to no.1 in the official rankings following their win over Argentina on Saturday.

 

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