Bok stress over injured trio

Jannie du Plessis, Francois Louw, and Warren Whiteley could all be sidelined after sustaining injuries, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.

The Springboks lost 27-20 to the All Blacks at Ellis Park on Saturday. After the game, Heyneke Meyer said he was disappointed with the result, as well as the manner of defeat.

To add injury to insult, as many as three Boks sustained debilitating knocks in what was a brutally physical contest. Meyer confirmed that he is concerned about Du Plessis’ knee, Louw’s shoulder and Whiteley’s ribs.

‘It was a big blow to lose senior players like Jannie and Flo, and then to lose a player like Lood de Jager when he was playing so well,’ Meyer said. ‘That was the turning point in the game, especially at the breakdown. The All Blacks got a lot of quick ball after that. Then Warren got injured, and we had to play [reserve hooker] Adriaan Strauss on the flank. It wasn’t ideal.

‘Lood will be fine [going forward] but I am worried about Jannie and Flo, as well as Warren. We can’t afford to lose any more players that we already have.’

Vincent Koch replaced Du Plessis at tighthead prop in the second half of the game on Saturday, and in doing so made his Test debut. However, when Koch sustained an injury of his own, Meyer was forced to send Trevor Nyakane, who was the designated loosehead prop reserve, onto the field.

Referee Jérôme Garcès then ruled that there would be uncontested scrums for the rest of the game. It was another big blow for the Boks, who had the edge at scrum time prior to this decision. A big weapon of theirs had suddenly been blunted.

‘It doesn’t matter whether Trevor can or has played tighthead before [for the Bulls at Super Rugby level],’ said Meyer. ‘Once the two [designated] tightheads in a match 23 are off, the ref then rules that there are uncontested scrums. That’s the law.’

Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

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