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Springboks admit to 'uncertainty' around duo

By Ian Cameron
(L-R) Makazole Mapimpi, S'Busiso Nkosi and Lukhanyo Am

The Springboks have admitted to uncertainty around the availability of two individuals for their end-of-year tour of Europe.

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SA Rugby director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber have now delayed the call-up of Sbu Nkosi and back row Marco van Staden, stating that they will only do so pending the results of medical scans.

Both Nkosi and Van Staden sustained rib injuries during the United Rugby Championship clash between the Bulls and the Sharks yesterday.

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A statement reads: “The pair were named in Nienaber’s 35-man Springbok squad for the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour against Ireland, France, Italy and England, and were scheduled to depart for Dublin on Sunday night. However, they were forced to remain in South Africa for scans and medical assessments to determine the extent of their injuries.”

Erasmus said: “We’ll wait for the outcome of their medical scans and once we know how serious it is we’ll decide if they will join the squad and if so, when. Fortunately, we have sufficient cover at loose forward and among the outside backs to allow us to train fully and select a quality team.”

The injuries to the pair is not the only strife, with the Springboks’ flight from Johannesburg to Ireland via Dubai on Sunday delayed by five hours.

“The travelling squad joined the other 11 players (the DHL Stormers VURC players and the European and UK-based players) who arrived in Dublin on Sunday afternoon, while Cheslin Kolbe will join the team on Monday morning following Toulon’s 27-26 defeat against Bordeaux on Sunday night.”

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The Springbok coaches were forced to make a few changes to their Monday programme due to the flight delay.

“We are pleased to be in Dublin, and thanks to the swift planning from our operations team following the announcement that our flight to Dubai was delayed and the resultant longer layover in Dubai, we were able to ensure that the players remained as comfortable as possible throughout the journey,” said Erasmus. “The entire squad with the exception of the injured players and Cheslin reported for duty in Dublin on Sunday night and despite a few changes to our programme, we have a full training day on Monday.”

Springbok assistant coach Felix Jones has been in Dublin since late last week.

“We were very fortunate that Felix joined the squad on Sunday as he had a golden opportunity to work with the DHL Stormers and overseas-based players on some detail while the rest of us were travelling,” said Nienaber. “We allowed the players additional recovery time on Monday morning to ensure that they are fresh when we take the field in our afternoon training session so we can leap straight into the thick of things.

“This is a massive Test for us as Ireland are the No 1 team in the world and we are also facing them in the pool stages of next year’s Rugby World Cup, so every minute of preparation time on and off the field counts.”

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The matchday squad to face Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday.

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