In-form centre Jan Serfontein has been ruled out for four months after fracturing his wrist, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Stelllenbosch.
Serfontein was sent for scans on Friday, which confirmed the injury.
‘It’s certainly a setback to lose Jan,’ Coetzee said. ‘He’s been there and done it before, and you always want to have your best players available.'
Despite some concern over Damian de Allende’s indifferent form during Super Rugby, he is now sure to retain the No 12 jersey against Ireland, and Coetzee said he was confident he would rise to the occasion.
‘Any injury provides opportunities for others. There’s no doubt in my mind that Damian will make the step up. We’ve already seen him looking sharp in training and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action at Test level again.’
Coetzee said no one would be called up to replace Serfontein as he believes they have enough midfield cover.
On a positive note, Coetzee reiterated that Elton Jantjies (fractured finger) and Lionel Mapoe (back strain) would be available for next Saturday’s first Test against Ireland, while Trevor Nyakane has also overcome an injury niggle. There is also good news related to lock Pieter-Steph du Toit, who was expected to miss the Tests against Ireland due to a hamstring strain, but the word from the Bok camp is that he has been recovering well and could be in contention to play some part in the series.
Ireland have suffered their own woes on the injury front, losing star flyhalf Johnny Sexton, Luke Fitzgerald, Dave Kearney and Rob Kearney. However, Coetzee insisted that he believed Ireland had the depth to deal with such absentees.
‘When you lose players to injury, it always has the potential to provide an opportunity for a new star to emerge. This will be a great opportunity for the next guy, and in rugby you always have to be prepared for injury setbacks. In no way do I think it will diminish Ireland’s strength or quality.’
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