Boks set to lose Steyn

Neither Frans Steyn nor Eben Etzebeth is expected to feature for the Springboks this June due to injuries. Steyn will, however, be available for the Sharks.

The Boks concluded their training camp in Durban today. Coach Heyneke Meyer revealed that a number of players are struggling with serious injuries and are likely to be unavailable for the coming matches against the World XV, Wales, and Scotland.

Steyn is one of the key players who has not trained over the past few days. The Bok centre has been suffering from a chronic knee dysfunction and upon a request from his franchise, the Sharks, the load on his knee was limited by keeping him out of training.

Steyn is expected to miss the June internationals. He will, however, continue to play for the Sharks, who have a crucial fixture against the Stormers this Saturday.

The concern over Steyn comes just days after it was confirmed that Bok captain Jean de Villiers has been ruled out for eight weeks, and Jaque Fourie for much of the Test season. Losing Steyn would force Meyer to select an inexperienced midfield combination this June.

It's likely that the Boks will be without the services of Etzebeth for the series. The lock, who has been out of action with an ankle injury since November, will have to undergo approximately three more weeks of rehabilitation before he can be considered for selection.

The Boks will also hope that Schalk Burger's injury is not as bad as initially feared. The flanker hurt his neck in the Stormers' most recent battle against the Cheetahs and is doubtful for this week's game against the Sharks.

The other players who missed training sessions at the camp because of injuries and ailments were Frans Malherbe (concussion), Willem Alberts (hamstring), S’bura Sithole (hamstring), Juan de Jongh (flu), and Johan Goosen (stiff neck). Bismarck du Plessis and Duane Vermeulen were managed carefully due to the amount of rugby they have played this season.

Meanwhile, the Boks will need to plug a gap in the front row for reasons other than injury. Hooker Adriaan Strauss has been suspended for three weeks, and the Boks will need to find a replacement.

Callie Visagie has been called into the Bok squad as cover, although Meyer has intimated that one of Schalk Brits or Craig Burden, who both play their club rugby overseas, will be considered for the June Tests.

Other top hookers such as Scarra Ntubeni, Chiliboy Ralepele, and Tiaan Liebenberg were not considered because of their injuries.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Jon Cardinelli