Alberts return imminent

Willem Alberts is likely to make his return from injury in the Springboks' match against Argentina in Buenos Aires next Saturday, writes CRAIG LEWIS[email protected]***&&&&!!!!

The match will serve as the Springboks’ final outing before the World Cup and provide one last opportunity for some players to get game time and return from injury.

Alberts is one such player who will be desperate to get back onto the field after an injury-disrupted year that has seen him miss most of the Vodacom Super Rugby season, while ruling him out of all international action so far.

Earlier this week, Alberts was one of the players who was given a chance of facing Argentina this Saturday, but in the end a decision was taken not to risk rushing his return.

However, at the team announcement on Wednesday, Bok coach Heyneke Meyer confirmed that Alberts's comeback was imminent.

‘It was actually a 50-50 call on whether Willem could start, and Warren [Whiteley] as well, but they just aren’t 100%. I don’t want to move Willem backwards now, he could possibly have pulled through if we’d waited until Saturday, but I wanted to name the team early because it’s going to be a tough game. It was a tight call, but we should have him available for next week.’

Meyer mentioned that veteran scrumhalf Fourie du Preez could possibly have been considered as a replacement for Saturday’s Test, but in the end the Bok coach emphasised that he would not risk picking a player who wasn’t fully fit.

By and large though, the Boks seemed to have turned the injury corner, which Meyer said was a relief just over a month away from the start of the World Cup.

‘I was really worried at one stage with all the injuries, but the main thing is to be ready when the World Cup starts. If we can just get through these two games without injuries, and through another month of hard training after that, then I’ll be very confident that we can be at our best going into the World Cup.’

Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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Craig Lewis