Alberts setback for Boks

Willem Alberts has been ruled out of the Springboks’ next two Tests while Francois Louw could miss the end-of-year tour, reports JON CARDINELLI in Cape Town.

Alberts has missed all four of the Boks’ Rugby Championship matches this year, and was always doubtful for the Test against Australia at Newlands. It was hoped that he would be ready for the final clash of the tournament, as his ball-carrying and defensive strengths would aid South Africa in their quest to beat New Zealand.

But on Monday, Bok team doctor Craig Roberts confirmed that Alberts will play no further part in this year’s campaign, and faces a race to be fit for the Test against Ireland on 9 November. Roberts said that Alberts has undergone back surgery, and will be assessed again in the buildup to that tour.

‘Willem had surgery and I met up with him in Durban last week, where he is starting to get going with his conditioning work. He is on track to make the end-of-year-tour.’

The Boks will also be without Louw for the coming games against Australia and New Zealand. Louw sustained a back injury in the recent clash against the All Blacks in Wellington. Like Alberts, he faces a lengthy period on the sidelines and may not be ready for the big Tests against Ireland and England in November.

‘Flo took a knock to his head against the All Blacks and it’s pushed a disc out in his neck that was putting some pressure on a nerve,’ said Roberts. ‘He consulted a specialist and we made the decision that surgery was the best way to relieve the pressure on the nerve. He underwent that procedure today [Monday].

‘With modern surgery techniques we’re hoping to have Flo back and playing in seven to eight weeks. There is a possibility that he will be available for our November tour but we’ll take it week by week and monitor his recovery.’

The good news for the Boks is that scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who injured his knee in the game against the All Blacks, should be fit for the tour to Europe.

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Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

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