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Springboks dealt double backline injury blow ahead of Ireland series

By Rugby365
Damian Willemse of the Springboks reacts during The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and South Africa Springboks at Allianz Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

South Africa may be without the services of one of their key backline players when they tackle Ireland in a two-Test series in July.

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On the day the Springboks announced they kick off their second in-person alignment camp in Cape Town on Wednesday, it was revealed that utility back Damian Willemse will undergo surgery for a finger injury.

The injury looks set to sideline him for up to four months.

The setback comes on the same day that Sharks Director of Rugby Neil Powell revealed that the Durban-based franchise will be without the services of their captain and double World Cup winner Lukhanyo Am for the rest of the season.

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These setbacks arrived a month before the Boks will open their Test season – with a warm-up game against Wales in London on June 22, followed by the series against Ireland.

Willemse’s injury will cause considerable stress to Bok coach Rassie Erasmus.

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Stormers Director of Rugby John Dobson – when he addressed the media after his team’s hard-fought 16-12 win in a United Rugby Championship match in Galway at the weekend – suggested Willemse could be available for the Test series.

However, scans have revealed that surgery is required.

The 26-year-old featured prominently for the Boks at fullback in their victorious World Cup campaign in France last year.

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At the Stormers, he floated around the backline and often featured at inside centre.

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22 Comments
L
Lou Cifer 30 days ago

Willemse is world class & only 25 years old. He has the ability to get even better, so this is a huge blow. We’ll also be without Kitshoff, Wiese & possibly Am. Kwagga, Marx. Faf & Jaden on the injury list too.

Obvious choice is to slot Willie in as starting 15. There are a few others on the fringes like Boogie (Gelant), Horn & Fassi etc. I don’t see how Green gets a shout if he ain’t part of the squad/camps at all. Kolbe & KLA can cover 15 too if something goes wrong during the game as well.

v
vaughn 31 days ago

2027 is the big picture and willemse will be ready for then as an abvious option or utility. Lets give Gelant some game time so hes ready for 2027. Fassie defense not good enough. Esterhuizen will be in his prime by 2027 and de ellende will be slowing down. Lets keep jesse kriel, cheslin, arrendse and pollard. Nohamba at 9.

f
finn 32 days ago

Wish them a fast recovery but I’m not convinced either of them are huge misses tbh

Personally if I was Rassie, regardless of Willemse and Am's availability I’d go with:
15 - Kolbe
14 - Kriel
13 - de Allende
12 - Esterhuizen
11 - Arendse
10 - Pollard

J
Joseph 32 days ago

That is a bad blow. Willemse is a genius.

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