Flo to miss European tour

Flanker Francois Louw is unlikely to play any part in the Springboks' end-of-year tour to Europe, reports JON CARDINELLI in Johannesburg.

Louw sustained a freakish back injury in the Test against the All Blacks on 13 September, and has subsequently undergone corrective surgery. Initially, it was hoped that the influential openside flanker would recover in time for the November Tests.

However, Bok team doctor Craig Roberts said on Monday that Louw is unlikely to be fit for the games against Ireland on 8 November, and England a week later. It’s a big blow considering Louw’s influence at the breakdown, and his standing as a leader in this Bok set-up.

Regardless of his fitness, Louw will also miss the Boks’ final tour match against Wales on 29 November. This Test falls outside the IRB’s November Test window, so players based at overseas clubs will not be available for international duty. Louw currently plays club rugby in England for Bath.

The good news is that blindside flanker Willem Alberts is on track to tour Europe with the Boks. Alberts has missed the Boks’ entire Rugby Championship campaign due to a back injury, but according to Roberts, has responded well to treatment in the past few weeks and will tour with the team this November.

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