Springbok forwards Duane Vermeulen and Lood de Jager have yet to train this week due to their respective injuries, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.
On Monday, Bok coach Allister Coetzee confirmed that Vermeulen (knee) and De Jager (calf) had sustained minor injuries in the loss to Ireland at Newlands. Coetzee said that the No 8 and lock would be managed over the course of the week as a precaution.
On Tuesday afternoon, Vermeulen and De Jager were not at the training session held at St Peter’s College in Johannesburg. SARugbymag.co.za understands that the pair has been given more time to recover from their injuries.
In the absence of Vermeulen, Warren Whiteley trained with the starting side at No 8. Pieter-Steph du Toit took De Jager’s place at No 5.
Whiteley and Du Toit could start against Ireland at Ellis Park this weekend if Vermeulen and De Jager fail late fitness tests. In that event, Coetzee will also need to bring in a couple of uncapped players to replace Whiteley and Du Toit on the bench.
Franco Mostert is the only other lock in the Bok squad at present. With regard to the reserve loose forward position, Coetzee may find it harder to choose between Jaco Kriel, the Lions flanker who calls Ellis Park home, and Sikhumbuzo Notshe, who impressed for SA A in the recent fixture against the England Saxons. Kriel and Notshe were both used as back-row alternatives at the training session on Tuesday.
Coetzee will announce his match 23 at 13:00 on Thursday.
Probable Springbok starting XV – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images